Airlines required to install secondary cockpit barriers in new planes under new FAA rule

Airlines required to install secondary cockpit barriers in new planes under new FAA rule | The Hill

Passenger jets prepare to take off at Logan International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Airlines will be required to install a secondary cockpit barrier in new planes under a new rule from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

The FAA said in a Wednesday release that it will mandate a secondary barrier to be included on the flight deck of new commercial airplanes to enhance safety measures. The agency said the rule will protect flight decks from intrusion when the flight deck door is open. 

“Every day, pilots and flight crews transport millions of Americans safely — and today we are taking another important step to make sure they have the physical protections they deserve,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. 

The agency originally proposed the rule last year after receiving recommendations from aircraft manufacturers and labor partners. 

Jason Ambrosi, the president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said during an event where the FAA announced the new rule that the country responded to the 9/11 attacks with measures to prevent another similar tragedy from occurring, but airplanes have not had secondary barriers. He said these barriers are a “proven effective” barricade that prevents dangerous individuals from reaching the cockpit during a flight. 

“This added layer of security will help me and my fellow pilots focus on the most important part of our job, the safe operation of every flight to ensure our aviation system remains the gold standard of safety,” he said. 

Bill Cason, the director of security for the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, said the door to the flight deck needed to be open at times during a flight for instances like meal service and crew transitions. He said this created a vulnerability, and a coordinated attack could get inside the flight deck in as little as three seconds of the door being opened. 

“It’s a cost-effective, scalable security enhancement for our air domain,” Cason said. 

The rule will go into effect 60 days from Wednesday, when it was published. But airlines do not need to comply with the requirement until 2025, USA Today reported

Acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg said she hopes airlines will make the change ahead of the deadline. 

“If they’re taking a plan for delivery right now, there’s no reason it should not come with a secondary barrier,” she said.

Tags airlines cockpit FAA Federal Aviation Administration flight deck flight safety Pete Buttigieg Polly Trottenberg secondary barrier

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