Aviation securityPilot Association Calls for Flight Deck Barrier Regulation

Published 23 September 2021

The world’s leading air-line pilots association has called on the U.S. government to issue a final secondary flight deck barrier regulation which was mandated by Congress nearly three years ago.

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), the world’s largest non-governmental aviation safety organization – ALPA represents more than 60,000 pilots at 36 U.S. and Canadian airlines – has called on U.S. federal regulators to address wat it described as “a glaring aviation security vulnerability” and prevent another, 9/11-like attack. Last month, ALPA called on Transportation Security Buttigieg to urge the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue a final secondary flight deck barrier regulation which was mandated by Congress nearly three years ago.

“The greatest way to honor the memories of the nearly 3,000 people who died is to use our voices, expertise and resolve to ensure that 9/11 is in America’s past—and not a prelude to another terrorist attack in which airplanes are, once again, turned into weapons of mass destruction,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president. “Issuing the secondary barrier rule would be a powerful and simple way for Administrator Dickson to honor the pilots, flight attendants, passengers, first responders, and other victims who lost their lives on 9/11. The FAA should stop stalling, follow the law and take immediate steps to improve aviation by implementing this critical, live-saving measure.”

In addition, ALPA is calling Congress to immediately pass legislation that requires primary, hardened flight deck doors on all cargo aircraft. These planes, which frequently carry non-airline personnel who often have not cleared the same security checks as individuals on passenger airlines, fly in the same airspace, to the same airports, and present the same risks as passenger aircraft. However, some have no flight deck door at all. A bipartisan bill to close this gap was introduced in Congress in July.

“This significant security gap in our aviation system currently allows relatively unfettered access to the cargo flight deck during flight operations. For far too long, there has been a dangerous double standard when it comes to common-sense safety and security provisions for cargo operations and it is way past time to end it,” added DePete.

After 9/11, Congress mandated hardened flight deck doors on commercial airliners, but the only all-cargo aircraft included were those that had flight deck doors at that time. The majority of all-cargo aircraft were not equipped with doors, and virtually all cargo aircraft manufactured since are not equipped with the hardened flight deck door. 

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