By Woodrow Bellamy III Aviation Today
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) on Monday announced the Saracini Aviation Safety Act, which would require airlines to install a secondary cockpit barrier on commercial airplanes to protect pilots and passengers from 9/11 style airliner attacks.
Current airline standards require reinforced cockpit doors, which Fitzpatrick said is not enough to prevent attempted terrorist hijackings. The bill was named after Ellen Saracini, widow of United Flight 175 pilot Victor Saracini, who was killed during the 9/11 attacks.
“Secondary barriers simply fulfill the intent of the efforts that were started over a decade ago by adding another layer of protection,” said Fitzpatrick, “Many airliners designed today already include the secondary barrier.”
The Air Line Pilots Association supports Fitzpatrick’s proposed legislation, which would require a wire-mesh gate to be installed as a secondary barrier to protect the cockpit when the door is open.
Saracini was influential in getting the bill introduced, stating her desire to prevent another 9/11 type of attack from occurring.
“It is obvious with the advent of knives being reintroduced to carry-on luggage, budget cuts in federal law enforcement on airplanes, and now the tragic events of Boston – that we cannot become complacent to the point of allowing another 9/11 to happen again,” said Saracini.
Fitzpatrick said the barriers can be retrofitted on aircraft affordably, and a recent study conducted by FAA and the Transportation Security Administration concluded that secondary barrier cockpit doors are the most “cost-effective, efficient and safest way to protect the cockpit.”