Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., introduced legislation Tuesday that would require 100 percent screening of cargo aboard all-cargo aircraft.
A longtime advocate of cargo screening, Markey in 2007 authored the bill requiring the screening of all air cargo aboard passenger aircraft. Tuesday's bill calls for screening on all-cargo flights within three years, with an 18-month deadline to have 50 percent of cargo screened.
Markey cited the recent foiled terrorist attacks from Yemen in which Al Qaeda operatives concealed explosives packed as toner cartridges in laser printers.
"The thwarted Yemen bombing plot demonstrates that Al Qaeda is turning its attention to less protected all-cargo aircraft. Accordingly, we must respond through strengthened security measures," Markey said.
The Independent Pilots Association, which represents UPS pilots, welcomed the bill. The Air Forwarders Association said it opposed 100 percent screening in favor of a risk-based system.
"Policy-makers should enact a risk-based system for global air cargo security as recommended by the supply chain and our international partners," said Brandon Fried, AFA executive director.
Markey's 2007 legislation passed in a House with a Democratic majority. Lawmakers also passed a measure requiring the scanning of all U.S. bound ocean containers.
Markey filed his bill to extend 100 percent air cargo screening to all aircraft in the first week of a lame duck session of the 111th Congress. If it doesn't pass, it's not likely to get a warm reception by the Republican-controlled House in the 112th Congress, which convenes in January.