WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey voted against the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill because it needlessly and inexplicably struck a Casey authored provision, the Saracini Aviation Safety Act. The Saracini Aviation Safety Act would have required new commercial aircraft to include a secondary safety barrier to protect pilots from terrorist attacks and disruption, such as the 9/11 hijackings. The bill honors Bucks County Captain Victor Saracini, pilot of United Flight 175, which terrorists hijacked and flew in the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Earlier this year, Casey worked to include the provision in the Senate passed FAA bill. The House included nearly identical text in the House bill. Yet when the House and the Senate negotiators met to reconcile their bills, they struck the language to protect pilots and improve air safety. Casey’s statement and that of Captain Saracini’s widow, Ellen, are below.
“I am disheartened that our steps to further protect passengers and flight crews on aircrafts is not included in the current Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act. Captain Saracini gave the full measure of life for our nation, and his wife, Ellen, and their family have worked tirelessly to increase airline safety,” said Senator Casey. “Installing secondary barriers on commercial aircrafts is essential in preventing terrorists from entering the cockpit, and I cannot in good faith vote for reauthorization without this commonsense step to improve airline safety.”
"The 911 Commission report stated “A failure of imagination” contributed to the events of September 11, 2001. As we mark the 15th year anniversary and the murder of my husband Victor and 2,976 innocents, we are reminded they are not with us today because of one reason, and one reason only, the cockpit was breached by terrorists. Today our flight decks are vulnerable to the same breach without a Secondary Barrier to protect the cockpit during door transition,” said Captain’s widow, Ellen Saracini. “This amendment is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done. It’s a shame leadership is failing to imagine this could happen again and turning their heads to this national security issue. I for one will continue to work tirelessly to ensure what happened to Victor does not happen to another family. What will we say to the next victim’s families when a breach occurs that is so easily preventable by installing a simple Secondary Barrier?”