FAA Requires Secondary Flight Deck Barrier

The FAA has announced that new commercial airplanes will be required to have a secondary barrier on the flight deck.



June 14, 2023

DALLAS — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that new commercial airplanes will be required to have a secondary barrier on the flight deck in order to ensure the safety of aircraft, flight crew, and passengers.

Secondary Flight Deck Barriers are an additional layer of security meant to protect flight decks on commercial airplanes from intrusion when the flight deck door is open. While hardened flight deck doors have improved security on passenger aircraft, a secondary barrier would be an added layer of protection.

"No pilot should have to worry about an intrusion on the flight deck," said Acting FAA Associate Administrator for Safety David Boulter, adding that "Every day, pilots and flight crews transport millions of Americans safely - and today we are taking another important step to make sure they have the physical protections they deserve."

The Biden-Harris Administration prioritized this rule in 2021, and in 2022, the FAA proposed the rule after seeking recommendations from aircraft manufacturers and labor partners.

The final rule mandates that aircraft manufacturers install secondary barriers on commercial aircraft produced after the rule goes into effect, meeting a requirement of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act.

Cockpit door Airbus A319-100 D-AKNM Germanwings. Photo: Thilo Parg, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Saracini Safety Aviation Act

The installation and operation of secondary barriers are detailed in the RTCA Document (RTCA/DO-329), which was not mandatory and did not constitute a regulation. The RTCA docket precedes the 2018 Saracini Safety Aviation Act, a bipartisan FAA reauthorization measure that protects passengers, pilots, and flight attendants by mandating the installation of secondary barriers on all new commercial aircraft.

The bipartisan Act was signed by the then POTUS due to the work of Ellen Saracni, whose husband, Victor Saracini, 51, was the captain of United Airlines (UA) Flight 175, one of the four aircraft that were seized on 9/11 and used to attack targets in New York and Washington DC. and various Congressmen.

“More than 17 years after terrorists breached the cockpit of my husband’s airplane on September 11, 2001, our skies are still susceptible to similar acts of terrorism, said Saracini five years ago.

"It is my mission to work with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick to ensure we are doing everything we can to negate the known vulnerability on the flight deck aboard our nation’s airliners because, without secondary barriers, we are just as vulnerable today as we were on that fateful day.”

Today's secondary barrier requirement announcement by the FAA is a step closer to fulfilling Saracini's goal.

Read the final rule here.

Featured image: WestJet