Rep. Carson Leads Effort to Protect Planes from Hijacking
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman André Carson (D-IN) led more than 100 Members of Congress in sending a bipartisan letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao supporting the installation of secondary cockpit barriers and urging full implementation of safety requirements authorized last year in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018.
“Installing secondary cockpit barriers provides a cost-effective, efficient, and safe solution to an issue that is dear to our hearts: protecting the flight deck,” Rep. Carson said. “It ensures the safety of the flight crew and passengers. With the addition of these barriers, the general public will have peace of mind to know that sensible precautions have been taken to ensure their safety.”
Americans continue to be susceptible to terrorist attacks. Since 2001, there have been at least 43 hijacking attempts around the world, five of which were successful. The Federal Aviation Administration has required cockpit doors to be heavily fortified since 2001. However, there are no barriers in place to protect the flight deck when pilots open the compartment to stretch or use the lavatory. This leaves the flight deck vulnerable and pilots defenseless to potential attackers looking to seize control of the plane.
The effort to install secondary cockpit barriers is many years in the making, led in part by the advocacy of Ellen Saracini. Her husband, Victor Saracini, was the pilot on board United Flight 175, which was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower on September 11, 2001.
In the 115th Congress, Rep. Carson and Rep. Jerald Nadler (D-NY) introduced an amendment to the 2018 FAA Authorization legislation that would require barriers on all newly manufactured airplanes. It was passed and signed into law.
However, opponents of secondary cockpit barriers claimed that Congress only intended secondary barriers be added to new types of aircraft. This is not correct. Congress intended that these safety barriers be added to all newly manufactured passenger airplanes. Today’s letter to FAA urges the agency to follow Congress’ clear intent as they begin work implementing the new requirements. Secondary Cockpit Barriers are strongly supported by aviation safety experts and other aviation professionals, including the Federal Air Marshalls Association and Air Line Pilots Association.
To further ensure that these reforms are expanded to even more aircraft, Rep. Carson joined Reps Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Peter King (R-NY) to reintroduce H.R. 911, the Saracini Aviation Safety Act, which would require secondary cockpit barriers on all commercial passenger airplanes, including retrofitting existing aircrafts. The legislation was introduced in February of this year.
Carson led 110 Members of Congress in sending today’s letter, including his co-leads on the Saracini Aviation Safety Act, as well as his partner on the enacted amendment, Rep. Jerald Nadler (D-NY).
Read the letter here.
The list of signers is below:
Aguilar, Axne, Bacon, Bergman, Beyer, Bilirakis, Blumenauer, Boyle, Brady, Brownley, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Carson, Cartwright, Case, Cisneros, Cohen, Cole, Cook, Correa, Costa, Courtney, Craig, Curtis, Davids, DeGette, DelBene, Demings, DeSaulnier, Dingell, Engel, Espaillat, Finkenauer, Fitzpatrick, Gabbard, Gallego, Garamendi, García, Gibbs, V. Gonzalez, Gottheimer, Grijalva, Higgins, Hill, Himes, Huffman, Jayapal, B. Johnson, Keating, Kilmer, H. Johnson, P. King, Krishnamoorthi, Kuster, Lee, Lipinski, Lowenthal, Luján, Luria, Mucarsel-Powell, Malinowski, S. Maloney, McGovern, McKinley, Meadows, Meng, Moulton, Nadler, Napolitano, Neguse, Norton, Pallone, Pappas, Pascrell, Payne, Perlmutter, Peters, Pocan, Porter, Price, Raskin, Rice, Richmond, Rose, Rouda, Rush, Sablan, Sánchez, San Nicolas, Schakowsky, Schrader, Schrier, Sires, Slotkin, Adam Smith, Spano, Speier, Suozzi, Swalwell, G. Thompson, Titus, Tonko, Torres, Torres Small, Upton, Vela, Visclosky, Watson Coleman, F.Wilson, Zeldin