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News Release

Release #01.110
October 18, 2001

ALPA’s Alaska Airlines Pilots Praise New Cockpit Door Being Installed

SEATTLE---Alaska Airlines is replacing the cockpit doors on its fleet with a new, reinforced design, and its pilots are pleased.

"We are extremely happy that our airline is one of the first to begin replacement of all cockpit doors with a robust new design," said Capt. John Sluys, chairman of the Alaska pilots Master Executive Council, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).

The company announced on Tuesday that it will replace the doors on its 70 B737 aircraft by Nov. 15, with its fleet of 32 MD-80 aircraft to follow thereafter. In the interim, Alaska Airlines has already begun installing reinforcement bars on its MD-80 cockpit doors.

The doors, manufactured by Raisbeck Engineering, feature Kevlar fabric panels, "kickproof" steel grills, a secure locking mechanism that can be operated by seated pilots, bulletproof acrylic windows, and a tamper-resistant exterior door handle.

"Pilots at Alaska have been concerned over cockpit door security ever since the air rage incident of Mar. 16, 2000, when the crew of Flt. 259 was attacked by an individual who broke into the cockpit and nearly crashed the airplane. And literally from the day of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, ALPA recognized that a secure cockpit door has to be the pilots’ first priority in making our airliners secure from hijackers who manage to get on board. On behalf of Alaska pilots and our passengers, I want to commend our management for taking swift, decisive action to provide the high level of security that is absolutely necessary for operating in the current risk environment," Sluys said.

ALPA, North America’s oldest and largest pilot union, represents 66,000 airline pilots at 47 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. It’s Web site is http://cf.alpa.org.

The Alaska Airlines announcement regarding the new doors is at its corporate Web site, http://www.alaskasworld.com/NEWS/2001/10/16_CockpitDrGun.asp. The Raisbeck site is http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/011016/160827_1.html.

(NOTE: Nothing herein is to be construed as an endorsement of Raisbeck Engineering or its products. ALPA does not endorse specific aviation products, services, or vendors.)

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ALPA CONTACT: Tara Elkins (206) 241-3138