Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) announced that they have introduced an amendment to the Federal Aviation Act that would further protect passengers and pilots on airplanes. The Saracini Aviation Act of 2016 would require each new commercial aircraft to install a barrier, other than the cockpit door, to prevent access to the flight deck of an aircraft. The legislation is named after Bucks County resident 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.
“We’ve made progress on airline safety in the years since September 11th 2001, but there are still additional commonsense steps we can take better protect passengers and flight crew,” Senator Casey said. “There’s no way to fully and completely honor the extraordinary courage of Captain Saracini. He gave the full measure of his life for our nation, and his wife, Ellen, and their family have worked tirelessly in the years since to increase airline safety. I’m urging Congress to pass this amendment to make further improvements to airline safety.”
“It is just commonsense to install secondary barriers on commercial aircraft. They are inexpensive and convenient. The only people who will be inconvenienced are the terrorists. If we pass this amendment, in time, our skies will be that much safer,” Senator Toomey said.
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.