|Flight Attendant Certification|
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently requires that flight attendants be on board transport category aircraft (20 seats or more) to perform routine safety and security tasks, as well as to respond to safety emergencies and security threats. Flight attendant training and responsibilities include fire control, first aid, aircraft evacuation and other emergency procedures — making flight attendants the first line of defense for safety/security in the aircraft. Additionally, flight attendants are considered safety/security sensitive employees and thus must be drug/alcohol tested, are required by regulation to have rest limitations which stipulate duty time limits and mandatory rest periods, and are now subject to criminal background checks.
In recognition of these responsibilities, in the fall of 2003, Congress incorporated a flight attendant certification requirement under the Vision 100-Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act. Although flight attendants perform safety- and security-related functions, they previously had never been certificated like pilots, mechanics, aircraft dispatchers, parachute riggers, and others. After many years of trying to work with the FAA on Flight Attendant certification, in April 2004 the FAA issued FAA Notice N 8400.64, 4/2/2004, SUBJ: FLIGHT ATTENDANT CERTIFICATION in order to comply with the requirements of Congress.
On December 10, 2004, the FAA issued Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Air Transportation (FSAT) 04-07, now consolidated into the document Flight Attendant Certification of Demonstrated Proficiency (a link to this document is available in the FAA Information for Operators document InFO 08016.) The purpose of FSAT 04-07 was to cancel Notice 8400.64, Flight Attendant Certification, and provide “revised guidance for principal operations inspectors (POI), aviation safety inspectors (ASI)-cabin safety, and directors of operations (DO) of certain air carriers concerning the flight attendant certification requirements established by Congress…” A portion of Section 4 of the FSAT, which outlines the key provisions of the Vision 100 Act, is reprinted below:
4. KEY PROVISIONS OF THE ACT. Among other provisions, the Act provides the following:
A. Definition of the term flight attendant. A flight attendant works in the cabin of an aircraft that has 20 or more seats and is used by an air carrier to provide air transportation.
B. Scope. The Act applies to flight attendants of air carriers providing air transportation using airplanes with 20 or more passenger seats under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 121 and 135.
C. Distinction. The Act distinguishes between this certificate and an airman’s certificate. This certificate is not an airman’s certificate as specified in Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.), section 44703; it is a separate kind of certificate as specified in 49 U.S.C., section 44728.
D. Appearance of the certificate. Each certificate of demonstrated proficiency shall:
(1) be numbered;
(2) contain the name, address, and description of the individual to whom the certificate is issued;
(3) be similar in size and appearance to certificates issued to airmen; and
(4) contain the airplane group for which the certificate is issued (Group 1 = Propeller-driven; Group 2 = Turbojet-powered). See Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121, section 121.400).
E. Compliance deadline. After December 11, 2004, no person may serve as a flight attendant aboard an aircraft of an air carrier unless that person holds a certificate of demonstrated proficiency issued by the FAA.
Sections 5 and 6 of FSAT 04-07 give additional information on the interactions between flight attendants, airline Directors of Operations, and the FAA, with respect to certification.
AFA Activity and Hot Topics
Certification Takes Effect in December 2004 (Excerpted from AFA-CWA Flightlog, vol. 42, no. 2, Fall 2004)
As professionals responsible for safety and security on board commercial aircraft, flight attendants have finally won recognition for the skills and training we bring to our workplace. Among the last to be certified under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) jurisdiction, flight attendants will be issued a certificate of demonstrated proficiency by December 11, 2004. AFA fought long and hard for this victory and will continue to work toward certification requirements for all flight attendants globally.
Each carrier must submit information to the FAA verifying that flight attendants have successfully completed required safety training. The FAA will send a wallet-sized hard copy of the certificate directly to qualifying flight attendants, to be effective immediately. Current flight attendants are not required to receive new training or medical clearance to receive certification.
After the December 11 deadline, all flight attendants must be certified to continue to perform flight attendant duties. If, by that date, you have not received your certificate, notify your carrier and AFA representative. During onboard inspections, FAA, National Transportation Safety Board or another federal agency representative may request proof of certification. If not presented immediately, the flight attendant must provide proof of certification within 15 days.
AFA, like many of our international counterparts, has fought hard for many years for industry recognition of the contribution flight attendants make to aviation safety. With certification, we join the ranks of other aviation workers—from pilots to parachute packers—as safety sensitive professionals. As always, it is our personal responsibility to make aviation safety our top priority and to uphold the standards represented by this certificate.
November 24, 2003 AFA Press Release: FAA Reauthorization Bill Provides Aircraft Air Quality Study, Certification for Flight Attendants
April 30, 2003 AFA Press Release: Flight Attendants to be Certified in Emergency Safety/Security Training
April 29, 2003 AFA Press Release: Airline Cabin Safety Gets a Boost from Congress
Download: InFO_07006.pdf, fsat0407.doc