By Hugo Martin
2:38 PM EDT, March 12, 2013
Another airline executive is speaking out on a plan by federal regulators to allow passengers to bring small knives into the cabin of commercial planes.
Doug Parker, chief executive at US Airways, wrote to the head of the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, asking that the agency reconsider the proposed policy change.
The TSA announced last week plans to let passengers carry small folding knives -- with blades no more than 2.36 inches long and 1/2 inch wide -- into the cabin of a commercial plane, starting April 25. It is the biggest relaxation of the list of prohibited items since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The TSA has defended the policy change, saying it brings U.S. airlines in alignment with international security standards and frees airport screeners to spend more time searching for serious threats, such as explosives.
But Park asked TSA Administrator John Pistole to reconsider the change that "might place our flight attendants' safety at risk." He also said the TSA should have discussed allowing knives in the cabin with flight attendants and pilots before announcing the decision.
Also starting April 25, the TSA will allow passengers to carry on golf clubs, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, pool cues and novelty bats.
The change in policy has been opposed by unions representing flight attendants, pilots and air marshals, as well as by Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta Airlines, among others.
"We think it's a bad idea,” said Joseph Strickland, head of aviation for the Americas at insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. "We don’t think it's in the interest of the traveling public and their flight crew.”
Pistole is expected to defend the new policy before a congressional committee Thursday.
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