Urges Rule To Apply Retroactively to Existing Aircraft

ALPA is renewing its push to expedite implementation of the rule to install secondary barriers on newly manufactured passenger aircraft and also urged the agency to apply the rule to the more than 2,000 airplanes that have been ordered or delivered since the antiterrorism law was enacted.

In comments filed regarding the FAA’s NPRM to require a second barrier to the flight deck on certain commercial airplanes, ALPA requested that the proposed regulatory timeline for installation on newly manufactured aircraft be reduced from 24 to 12 months from the date of publication of the final rule. At least two aircraft manufacturers have production lines already equipped and have made secondary cockpit barriers available as customer options on some aircraft types. 

Additionally, due to the significant delays in publishing the rule, the Association requested that all aircraft that came online in the time since the law’s passing be included in the rule.

“ALPA has worked tirelessly to ensure that commercial airliners are never again used as weapons of war. Requiring the installation of secondary barriers is a simple, prudent, and inexpensive step that is demonstrably effective in ensuring the safety of airline passengers, crews and persons and property on the ground,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president.

“The significant delay in issuing this rule means that more than 2,000 passenger aircraft were ordered or delivered without these security barriers, so the FAA should apply the rule retroactively to include all of these aircraft.  And given that aircraft manufacturers already offer these security features as an option, there is no reason to take two years to require compliance with the rule.”

In addition to expediting the time for installation, ALPA also requested that, at a minimum, the FAA mandate that all passenger airliners be retrofitted with installed physical secondary barriers, including the flightdecks of foreign aircraft that operate into the United States under FAR Part 129 operations.

“There is a significant security concern that terrorists or other actors could target foreign operators without secondary barriers, as those aircraft could be deemed less secure because they do not possess the same level of flightdeck security as U.S. operators.

The reinforced flightdeck door has added a valuable level of protection, but the flightdeck remains vulnerable whenever the door is unlocked and open; therefore, additional methods to mitigate this vulnerability must now be comprehensively adopted as demonstrated by continued attempted flightdeck breaches. An installed physical secondary barrier is the simplest, most dependable, and cost-effective means available for this purpose,” DePete wrote in his comments filed with the FAA.

FMI: www.alpa.orgwww.alpa.org/-/media/ALPA/Files/pdfs/news-events/letters/2022/0930-alpa-comments-faa-secondary-barriers.pdf?la=en