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American says it has 'concern' about small knives

Tuesday - 3/12/2013, 5:40pm  ET

DALLAS (AP) -- American Airlines has "concern" over letting passengers carry small knives on planes, but it's stopping short of opposing the idea.

American's senior vice president for government affairs, Will Ris, said Tuesday that government officials should "reassess" changes to the banned-items list so that airlines and airline employees can review new rules that take effect April 25.

Ris explained American's position in a letter to John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.

Flight attendants' groups, pilots' groups and Delta Air Lines oppose the TSA's plan, which would also let passengers carry hockey sticks, two golf clubs and other sporting gear currently banned from plane cabins.

Some safety experts say that passengers with small knives could not bring down an airplane because cockpits were made more secure after 2001, when terrorists armed with box cutters hijacked and crashed two American Airlines and two United Airlines planes. But opposition to the TSA's proposal appears to be growing.

Delta CEO Richard Anderson told Pistole last week that he shared flight attendants' "legitimate concerns" about passengers carrying small knives, which he said would create "additional risk for our cabin staff and customers."

On Monday US Airways CEO Doug Parker asked TSA to reconsider its decision, saying knives "might place our flight attendants' safety at risk." He said that TSA might have reached a "more thoughtful" approach to security if it had talked to airlines and flight crews first.

On Tuesday U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., held a news conference at Boston's Logan Airport to say he would introduce legislation to block changes in the banned-items list.

And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has said he wants to hold hearings on the TSA's decision.


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