June 20, 2017

Senator Hassan Cosponsors Bipartisan Aviation Safety Legislation to Require Secondary Barrier Protecting Cockpits of all Commercial Aircraft

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored the Saracini Aviation Act, introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), that would require all commercial aircraft to install a barrier outside the cockpit door to prevent access to the flight deck. The legislation is named after Captain Victor Saracini, who piloted United Flight 175 when it was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center. While cockpit doors are currently reinforced, a secondary barrier will protect passengers and crew during times in flights when cockpit doors are opened.

“This bipartisan measure will honor the sacrifice and courage of Captain Victor Saracini by improving airline safety and helping ensure that cockpits are as secure as possible,” Senator Hassan said. “We have made critical safety advancements for air travel since September 11th, 2001, but our efforts to improve airline safety must never cease and this bill will help better protect pilots and the public from similar hijacking attempts.”

A secondary cockpit barrier is a light weight wire-mesh gate installed between the passenger cabin and cockpit door that is locked into place and blocks access to the flight deck. In 2003, a voluntary airline industry movement toward adopting secondary barriers began, but deployment of the devices waned. The barriers provide significantly more security to airline companies, their employees, and passengers. A 2007 study conducted at the request of the Airline Pilots Association International and the airline industry concluded that secondary cockpit barrier doors are the most cost-effective, efficient, and safest way to protect the cockpit.