American Airlines is the world’s largest commercial airline.The company connects approximately 350 destinations worldwide and serves over 500,000 passengers per day. We spent a few minutes with American’s Chief Security Officer, Mr. Jose Freig, to understand what the company is focused on and where he sees the industry going.
DeteCT: Jose, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Tell us a little about your background and your responsibilities at American Airlines.
JF: Prior to joining American, I worked for Siemens, supporting the Department of Homeland Security, helping DHS perform risk assessments and deploy security technology. At American, I am fortunate to be the main point of contact within the airline for our collaborative efforts with government security agencies, in the U.S. and abroad. That involves not only agencies like TSA, but also U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigration, law enforcement and the intelligence community. In addition, I support American’s legislative team in Washington, DC. Last but certainly not least, the security team is also responsible for corporate investigations, crew security, revenue protection and campus security.
DeteCT: That's a lot of work! Some of our readers may not appreciate the role that airlines like American play in aviation security. How do you work with airports and regulators?
JF: Every country is different, but one thing that cuts across all the countries we work in: we want to be forward leaning on security. We want our security technology to be the best available.
DeteCT: How does checkpoint CT fit in to that approach?
JF: Checkpoint CT is key to the future of checkpoint security. Its threat detection capabilities and its lower false alarm rate have always been attractive. And now, you have systems like the Analogic ConneCT that are really designed for today’s airports. One reason for our procurement partnership with Analogic is to create momentum for checkpoint CT by installing it at the departure gates of some of our top international airports and main checkpoints domestically.
DeteCT: We look forward to helping you make that happen. In addition to checkpoint CT, what are some of the top security priorities facing American Airlines?
JF: There are a couple things. First, automatic screening lanes. When you combine them with checkpoint CT systems like the ConneCT, you can really optimize the passenger facilitation aspect of the checkpoint. Biometrics is another area where we want to be forward leaning. Leveraging biometrics for checkpoint access and other customer products improves the security and customer experience.
DeteCT: Given your global perspective, are there any exciting international initiatives our US readers should be aware of?
JF: There is a lot of exciting innovation around the globe. In Australia and New Zealand, for example, authorities have done a great job streamlining the passenger entry process. In Canada, they do a really good job tracking passengers as they move through the check-in and security process so we at the airline know where passengers are.
DeteCT: Jose, thank you again. Any final words?
JF: American takes safety and security very seriously. We have to be the catalyst for innovation. That is why we are very excited about Analogic’s technology – it is truly the next generation in aviation security.