EPIC logo

U.S. Department           Associate Administrator         800 Independence Ave., SW.
of Transportation         for Civil Aviation Security     Washington, DC 20591
Federal Aviation
 MAR 13 1996
Mr. Robert Ellis Smith
Publisher, Privacy Journal
P.O. Box 28577
Providence, RI 02908
Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for your February 16 letter concerning the requirements to request a
valid form of identification from commercial airline ticket holders.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Security Directive to be put
into effect at airports throughout the country in response to recent intelligence
indicating an elevated domestic threat situation. It is a countermeasure listed
within this security directive that mandated that airlines request a valid form of
identification from airline ticket holders. While an airline is required to request
identification, the actual presentation of identification by the passenger is not
absolutely required, and there is currently no prohibition against allowing
someone on an aircraft without such identification. However, the absence of
identification may result in the use of alternative measures that provide the same
level of security protection.
Security countermeasures issued by the FAA in a Security Directive establish
security minimums for adoption by airlines and airports. Airlines and airports
may exceed those minimum standards by implementing more stringent security
requirements. Where airlines implement additional or more stringent measures,
passengers my sometimes experience differences in procedures as they
undergo processing. Refusal to allow a passenger without a photo identification
to board the aircraft is an example of such differences, and is the policy of an
individual airline; this is not an FAA security requirement.
With regard to your request for excerpted language from the Security
Directive, it has been determined that the disclosure of information from this
document would undermine the effectiveness of the measure. Title 49 U.S.C.
Section 40119(b) states in part that the FAA Administrator may prescribe
regulations as he considers necessary to prohibit disclosure of any information
obtained or developed in the conduct of security or research and development
activities if he concludes that disclosure would be detrimental to the safety of
persons traveling in air transportation. Accordingly, the information you
requested cannot be released.
As always, the highest priority of the FAA is the safety and security of the
traveling public. Thank you for expressing your concerns.
for Cathal L. Flynn
Associate Administrator for
  Civil Aviation Security