Additional aviation security rules announced in the U.S.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a “second flight deck barrier” – actually another door in front of the cockpit on some commercial aircraft. This would help protect the crew even better “from intrusion” by potential hijackers or hooligans, especially “when the cockpit door is open.”
“Every extra layer of security makes a difference. Additional flight crew protection helps make our system the safest in the world,” says FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen, a former airline pilot.
The innovation will require aircraft manufacturers to make design changes on aircraft used on scheduled passenger flights in the United States. Not all airplanes will have the change: some are too small to install a second door, and some already have it in certain configurations.
According to U.S. passenger airlines regulations, which are based on FAA requirements, the cockpit door is armored and must remain closed and locked at all times while the engines are running. If one of the pilots needs to leave the cockpit temporarily during the flight for any reason, one of the flight attendants (or third pilot, if there is one) must take his place in the cockpit during his absence: so that the other crew member is not left alone. When the cockpit door opens and one of the pilots is temporarily out of the cockpit, another flight attendant stands in the aisle facing the passengers and supervises the order in the cabin: he must offer a seat to any passenger if he at that moment heads towards the cockpit, near which, as you know, the kitchen and the restroom are located. Thus, an additional door in front of this unit would simplify the procedure, improve safety and increase crew comfort.
“Pilots, ground staff, flight attendants and other aviation workers give millions of Americans the opportunity to see their loved ones… We appreciate it, and supporting the quality of their work is key to the sustainability of the aviation sector,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wrote on Twitter.
The relevance of the FAA’s proposed innovation has grown in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. Social tensions and necessary sanitary measures have led to an increase in so-called uncontrollable behavior among some airline passengers around the world.
According to FAA statistics since 1995, the number of investigations of such cases each year in the U.S. has fluctuated between 100 and 200 per year, but in 2021 there was a spike: 1,099. From the beginning of 2022 through Aug. 2, there have already been 1,734 episodes of uncontrolled passenger behavior on airplanes, and 599 situations have been investigated. 393 people have been punished according to the law, including 80 serious episodes investigated criminally by the FBI.
That’s why back in 2021, the Joe Biden administration put a secondary flight deck barrier on its list of priority rulemaking measures. Now the new safety rule is out for public comment, and the FAA plans to publish final detailed requirements for airlines in two months.