Congressmen Nadler and Carson's Amendment Adding Secondary Cockpit Security Barriers on New Aircraft Passes House Transportation Committee

Jun 27, 2017 Issues: Transportation, 9/11 Attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the highest ranking Democratic member from the northeast, and Congressman André Carson (D-IN) offered an amendment to HR 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. The amendment, which passed unanimously by voice vote, increases security on aircraft by requiring the installation of secondary cockpit barriers on new planes.

Congressman Nadler's statement, as prepared, follows below:

"Mr. Chairman, I am proud to cosponsor this amendment with my good friend, Mr. Carson, requiring the installation of secondary cockpit barriers on new passenger aircraft.

"This amendment is based on the bipartisan Saracini Aviation Safety Act (HR 911), named after Captain Victor Saracini, who was killed on 9/11 when terrorists hijacked United Flight 175.  His widow, Ellen Saracini, has been a tireless advocate for cockpit safety legislation, and she supports this amendment as does the Air Line Pilots Association.

"One of the clear and convincing lessons of 9/11 was the need to improve cockpit safety. Following the attack, Congress mandated the installation of reinforced cockpit doors, but there are times during many flights when the cockpit door must be opened, such as when the pilot needs to use the restroom, for meals, or for other operational reasons. In order to fully secure the cockpit, we must install a secondary barrier – typically, a lightweight, wire-mesh gate between the passenger cabin and the flight deck – that can be locked into place when the cockpit door opens.

"These secondary barriers are cost-effective, and generally recognized as the most efficient and safest way to protect the flight deck. Since 2003, a few airlines began to voluntarily install them, but it is incumbent on Congress to ensure that they are installed on all domestic air carriers.

"This amendment would require the installation of secondary cockpit barriers on all new passenger aircraft in the United States. A similar amendment was adopted by this committee during consideration of the FAA bill last Congress, and it is my hope that we will do so again.

"It has been almost 16 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It is long past time that we enact this common sense security measure. I urge my colleagues to support the Carson/Nadler amendment, and yield back the balance of my time."