The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US Department of Transportation wants a regulation mandating that aircraft manufacturers add a second physical barrier on commercial passenger aircraft in use in the US.
Every time the door to the flight deck is opened while the aircraft is in flight, the second physical barrier would be shut and locked, FAA.
Effort to enhance flight deck security
Numerous new flight deck security procedures were put in place in the US and other countries after 9/11. The days of children exploring the flight deck and stopping to chat with the pilots came to an abrupt end. Except when a member of the flight crew required to enter or exit, the flight deck doors were reinforced and kept shut during the trip.
There has been a long-running demand for a secondary security barrier, even though additional crew members currently stand in the way of passenger access anytime the flight deck door temporarily opens during a flight. A secondary security barrier that is required in the flight deck, according to the Air Line Pilots Association, is long overdue.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen both moved this week. “Every additional layer of security is important. Keeping flight crews safe contributes to maintaining the world’s safest system” When introducing the proposed rule, Mr. Nolen remarked.
All commercial passenger aircraft operating in the US would be subject to the rule
The proposed rule would apply to US-based airlines that operate passenger-carrying flights using aircraft in the transport category. The second physical barrier would provide line-of-sight visibility between the flight deck door and the cabin while prohibiting any incursion when the main flight deck door is open, however it is not yet known exactly what shape it would take. Perspex fit for a prison comes to mind.
In fact, a model of a secondary security barrier created by the ALPA, which is made up of several horizontal metal bars welded to a steel frame, strongly resembles a jail cell door.
“I am pleased that the FAA has finally taken the first step toward addressing this vulnerability after years of delay—delays caused by airline opposition and that resulted in thousands of planes coming into service without this critical security enhancement since 2001 rule”According to Captain Joe DePete of the Air Line Pilots Association
Moves are being made to actively apply the rule
The proposed regulation, according to the FAA, would be applicable to aeroplanes of the transport category built two years following the initial implementation of the final rule. But the ALPA doesn’t think that’s acceptable. They want legislation requiring airlines to add additional security measures on their current fleet of planes. According to Captain DePete, doing so ought to rank highly among the nation’s national security goals.
The Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act, which is currently before the US Congress, contains a clause allowing secondary security barriers to be retroactively installed in flight decks. Early in 2021, a bill bearing Captain Victor J. Saracini’s name—one of the hijackers who perished in the 9/11 attacks—was introduced to Congress.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer argued at the time that “we need to go farther and mandate that all existing commercial aeroplanes also have secondary cockpit barriers.” Why would you have certain aircraft that are protected from cockpit terrorist assaults and others that aren’t?
After the proposed regulation is published in the US Federal Register, interested parties have 60 days to submit comments. The FAA will then publish a final regulation after those 60 days.
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