In the wake of the House passage of a three month Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization patch – H.R. 4721 – ahead of its March 31 expiration, U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) released a statement calling for even further action.
“As the House acts to clear the way for a bipartisan, long-term FAA reauthorization, it is imperative that that legislation include language mandating the installation of secondary cockpit barriers on board commercial airliners,” Fitzpatrick said. ”These low-cost, lightweight additions would provide a much needed layered security option for the flight deck, protecting it from anyone attempting to hijack a plane.
“We’ve already seen what can happen when our planes are turned into weapons of war. We should not let that happen again, and mandating secondary cockpit barriers is the best method to prevent another tragedy. I urge leaders of both parties to include this critical requirement in any long-term reauthorization we consider this year.”
Fitzpatrick is the original author of the Saracini Aviation Safety Act, H.R. 911, that called for greater airplane safety and security measures to protect pilots in case of an attempted hijacking.
“For too long our skies have remained unprotected from the threats posed by those who seek to do us harm,” Ellen Saracini, widow of the late Victor J. Saracini, a pilot during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, said. “The drafting and consideration of a long-term FAA reauthorization bill must include language requiring secondary cockpit barriers – the most effective way to protect the flight deck. I never want another family to go through what mine did when terrorists breached the cockpit of my husband’s airplane on September 11, 2001. It is my mission to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the flight deck aboard our nation’s airliners because, without secondary barriers on all planes, we are just as vulnerable today as we were on that Tuesday in September.”