U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), André Carson (IN-07), and Peter King (NY-02) have introduced legislation to protect the safety of American citizens by requiring the installation of secondary cockpits barriers on most commercial aircraft to prevent terrorist attacks similar to 9/11.
The Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act of 2019 [H.R. 911] mandates inexpensive, lightweight wire-mesh gates to be installed on existing aircraft between the passenger cabin and the cockpit door that would block access to the flight deck whenever the cockpit door is opened during flight.
This legislation is named in honor of Capt. Victor J. Saracini, who was killed after his plane was hijacked and deliberately flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. His widow, Ellen, has become a national advocate for aviation safety following the 9/11 attacks.
“It is unacceptable that, more than 17 years after terrorists breached the cockpit of my husband’s airplane on September 11, 2001, our skies are still susceptible to repeat this act of terrorism. 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, we are just as vulnerable today as we were on that fateful day,” said Saracini. “We need to call on the FAA to act swiftly on legislation passed last congress to implement a secondary barrier on newly manufactured aircraft for delivery. I’m pleased that a bipartisan group of leaders in the 116th Congress are wasting no time to address retrofitting the remaining aircraft with secondary barriers and continue protecting all who travel in the skies above us.”
A study commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration and industry stakeholders concluded the vulnerability of the flight deck is real during door transition and that secondary barriers are safe, cost-effective ($5,000 to $12,000 per aircraft), and the most efficient way to protect the cockpit.