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Allied Pilots Association: “All Commercial Airliners Need Secondary Cockpit Barriers”

FORT WORTH, Texas (Aug. 3, 2022) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, welcomed the start of the public comment period on pending federal regulation mandating secondary barriers between the cabin and cockpit doors on newly manufactured passenger aircraft.

“We welcome this development as a good start and appreciate the efforts of FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen to move this vitally important issue forward,” said APA President Capt. Edward Sicher. “That noted, let me be clear: All commercial airliners flying for Part 121 carriers need secondary cockpit barriers, whether those aircraft carry passengers or cargo and whether they’re newly manufactured or requiring retrofitting. Anything less than that — for example, if the regulation is confined to only new type certification aircraft — is totally unacceptable.

“As we approach the twenty-first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and with news of the successful U.S. drone strike against Al Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri fresh in everyone’s minds, we must remain fully alert to the threat that commercial aviation continues to face from those who would do us harm,” he said.

Capt. Sicher urged lawmakers to act on the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Act of 2021 (H.R. 911), which would require secondary barriers to be retrofitted to existing commercial aircraft. 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.

“This legislation should be viewed as one of our highest national security priorities,” Capt. Sicher said. “Commercial aviation will always present a tempting target for terrorists, and we must do everything in our power to counter that threat.”

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 14,000 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.

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