Act requires secondary barriers on new passenger aircrafts

The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act includes language similar to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s Saracini Aviation Safety Act

The Times


The U.S. House last Friday passed the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which includes language similar to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s Saracini Aviation Safety Act, mandating the installation of secondary barriers on new passenger aircraft.

“As our nation continues to combat the threat of terrorism, it is crucial that we learn from the past in our mission to keep our nation safe. Protecting the cockpits in our nation’s airplanes is critical in preventing commercial airliners from being turned into weapons of war,” Fitzpatrick said. “Today, the House took a key step forward by requiring the installation of secondary cockpit barriers on all new passenger aircraft. While this is a major victory for airline safety, we will continue to fight until all current passenger aircraft contain secondary barriers.”

The measure mandates inexpensive, lightweight wire-mesh gates to be installed between the passenger cabin and the cockpit door that would block access to the flight deck whenever the cockpit door is opened during flight for pilots’ meals, restroom use and other reasons.

The legislation is named in memory Victor J. Saracini, a Lower Makefield resident and pilot of United Flight 175, which was hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. The plane crashed into the World Trade Center. Saracini’s widow, Ellen, has been a leading advocate on the issue since her husband’s death. She was present in the House gallery for the vote.

“More than 16 years after terrorists breached the cockpit of my husband’s airplane on Sept. 11, 2001, our skies are still susceptible to repeat this act of terrorism. It is my mission to work with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the flight deck aboard our nation’s airliners because, without secondary barriers, we are just as vulnerable today as we were on that fateful day,” she said. “I am pleased that Congressman Fitzpatrick and the House have taken sensible precautions to make our skies safer. Our mission will now expand to ensure that all commercial airliners contain secondary barriers. We will not stop fighting until this is achieved.” ••