In 2001, Congress mandated the installation of reinforced cockpit doors on most commercial aircraft as the first step toward preventing another 9/11-style breach of the cockpit. Airlines are required to use procedures to protect the cockpit when the reinforced door is opened during flight for pilots’ meals, restroom use, and other reasons. To provide better security, secondary barriers were developed to block access to the cockpit whenever the cockpit door is open during flight. Voluntary airline industry movement toward adopting secondary barriers began in 2003, but commitment to deploying these devices has since waned. HR 1775, the Saracini Aviation Safety Act of 2013, is a bipartisan bill that simply fulfills the intent of Congress from more than a decade ago to make cockpits more secure.
As recent events have demonstrated, Americans still remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks. In addition to the Boston Marathon bombings and the attempted attack on a train traveling between Canada and New York, there have been at least 10 hijacking attempts around the world since 2007. The U.S. government has repeatedly and recently confirmed that aviation, in particular, is still a target of radical terrorists and the threat of hijackings is real. Secondary barriers are inexpensive to install and long overdue.
ALPA is asking all pilots to tell their representatives to cosponsor this bill today. Read the Dear Colleague letter from the bill sponsor here. ALPA members can write their representatives using our call to action system here!