October 19, 2007
Pilots Welcome Secondary Cockpit Barrier Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, (ALPA) welcomes legislation that will be introduced by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), which, if passed, would mandate secondary barriers for all passenger airliner cockpits.
“A secondary barrier gives cockpit crews the crucial extra seconds they need to secure the door and safeguard their airliners,” says Capt. Bob Hesselbein, ALPA’s National Security Committee chairman. “The airlines that have voluntarily installed secondary barriers have taken the lead, but Rep. Israel’s legislation will ensure that passengers and crews can count on the benefits of secondary barriers, regardless of the airline they fly.”
A secondary barrier, combined with standardized crew procedures for protecting the cockpit door when opened during flight, adds an important layer of security to prevent the hostile takeover of an airliner. A barrier gives airline crew members the opportunity to visually assess a perceived threat, provides additional time to evaluate and react, and, if the barrier is breached, confirms the individual’s hostile intent to crew members and law enforcement officers who may be aboard.
“The legislation introduced today is a promising step, but we also need Congress to act swiftly to pass it,” continues Hesselbein. ALPA remains concerned about the lack of standards to determine the physical characteristics and placement of the barrier aboard airliners. The Association also calls for airlines to install the barriers by a specific date and for all-cargo airlines to include secondary barriers on their airplanes. Currently, all-cargo airplanes are not even required to be equipped a hardened cockpit door.
“ALPA applauds Congressman Israel’s efforts to capitalize on secondary barriers to keep airline passengers, cargo, and crews secure,” concludes Hesselbein. “We look forward to working with the aviation community toward the goal of quickly installing these critical safeguards on all passenger and cargo aircraft in the U.S.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 60,000 pilots at 41 airlines in Canada and the U.S. For more information, visit the ALPA website at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703-481-4440