...As Airline Pilots Detained, Foreign Sky Marshals Mandated

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Two airline pilots from the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago, flying for BWIA, were detained by the FBI last week after their names reportedly appeared on a TSA "no-fly" list. In a statement, the T&T government said it considered the detention "unwarranted, unjustified and severely damaging, not only to [the pilots'] image and reputation, but also to the national airline BWIA." The two pilots reportedly were held in New York and Miami, and were cleared by the FBI by last weekend, but were not allowed to return home until their names were removed from the list. Meanwhile, on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security decreed that it will require foreign passenger and cargo airlines to carry armed sky marshals on certain flights into the U.S.

The edict raised a lot of eyebrows, as not all countries and airlines have agreed that guns -- even legitimate guns -- are a healthy item to have on board a pressurized airplane, and it is not customary for one country to impose procedures for other countries' airlines. U.S. officials said the directive to foreign carriers is effective immediately and will apply to flights that are mentioned specifically in intelligence reports or in other information collected by counterterrorism officials. Foreign carriers that do not comply with the specific requests may not be allowed to land in the U.S.