FORT WORTH, Texas (July 14, 2021) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, urged lawmakers to include the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Act of 2021 (H.R. 911) in the infrastructure legislation Congress is now considering.
“The White House and Congress affirmed commercial aviation’s status as critical infrastructure through the much-needed federal support our industry received during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Capt. Eric Ferguson, President of the Allied Pilots Association. “We will always be grateful for that support.
“It’s incumbent on all of us to help preserve and protect critical infrastructure, which is what H.R. 911 is designed to do by mandating a secondary barrier between the cabin and cockpit door whenever the door is opened during flight,” he said.
Today’s edition of Roll Call, a Washington publication widely read by lawmakers and their staffs, includes a full-page APA advertisement in support of H.R. 911. The advertisement features comments by Debra Burlingame, the sister of American Airlines Capt. Charles “Chic” Burlingame, who was pilot-in-command of Flight 77 on Sept. 11, 2001, when it was hijacked and flown it into the Pentagon.
“With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, we must seize the moment,” Ferguson said. “We cannot risk another such attack on our nation by failing to address a known shortcoming in aviation security.”
The bipartisan bill is sponsored by U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), and Chris Smith (R-N.J.). It is named in honor of Capt. Victor Saracini, who died when terrorists flew United Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Capt. Saracini’s widow, Ellen, is a well-known advocate for aviation safety and security. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
“Secondary cockpit barriers for all commercial airliners are vital, whether they carry passengers or cargo, and we want to once again thank Representatives Fitzpatrick, Carson, Gottheimer, and Smith – as well as Senators Casey and Toomey – for sponsoring this important legislation,” Ferguson said. “If secondary cockpit barriers aren’t a vital component of our nation’s infrastructure, what is?”
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org.