Reps. Fitzpatrick, Carson, King & Gottheimer introduce bipartisan ‘Saracini Aviation Safety Act’ to protect America’s skies

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), AndrĂ© Carson (IN-07), Peter King (NY-02) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) have introduced bipartisan legislation which would protect Americans from 9/11-style terror attacks by requiring the installation of secondary cockpit barriers on most commercial aircraft. The Saracini Aviation Safety Act [H.R. 911] mandates inexpensive, light weight wire-mesh gates to be installed between the passenger cabin and the cockpit door that would block access to the flight deck whenever the cockpit door is opened during flight for pilots’ meals, restroom use, and other reasons.

The legislation is named in honor of pilot Captain Victor J. Saracini, who was killed when terrorists hijacked United Flight 175 on September 11, 2001. Saracini’s widow, Ellen, is a leading advocate on the issue since her husband’s death.

“It is unacceptable that, more than 15 years after terrorists breached the cockpit of my husband’s airplane on September 11, 2001, our skies are still susceptible to repeat this act of terrorism. It is my mission to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the flight deck aboard our nation’s airliners because, without secondary barriers, we are just as vulnerable today as we were on that day,” said Saracini. “I’m pleased that a bipartisan group of leaders in the 115thCongress are wasting no time to address the important issue of secondary barriers and begin protecting in the skies above us.”

Since 2001, there have been at least 43 hijacking attempts around the world, five of which were successful. A study commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration and industry stakeholders concluded the vulnerability of the flight deck is real during door transition and that secondary barriers are safe, cost-effective ($5,000-$12,000 per aircraft), and most efficient way to protect the cockpit.

  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick: “As our nation continues to combat the threat of terrorism, it’s crucial that we not only prepare for the future, but learn from the past. Protecting the cockpit of our nation’s planes is the simplest, cheapest and most effective method to prevent airplanes from being turned into weapons of war by those who seek to do us harm. I’m grateful for the bipartisan support of this legislation and look forward to building on the bipartisan progress made with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last congress to see this important measure signed into law.”
  • Rep. AndrĂ© Carson: “Installing secondary cockpit barriers provides a cost-effective, efficient, and safe mechanism to better protect the flight deck. This bipartisan bill ensures the protection of the flight crew and passengers. It also provides the general public peace of mind to know that sensible precautions have been taken to ensure their safety.”  
  • Rep. Peter King: “This legislation is essential and another important step to protecting the homeland from terrorism. I am proud to work with Reps. Fitzpatrick, Carson & Gottheimer to make sure this legislation becomes law.”
  • Rep. Josh Gottheimer: “Keeping our nation safe must be our top priority, especially as we face threats from terrorists at home and abroad. This common sense bill will better protect our flight crews and passengers from terrorist threats.”

The Saracini Aviation Safety Act was previously introduced in the 113th and 114th congresses and garnered widespread bipartisan support in the House and Senate. The bill is endorsed by 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor Tom Ridge, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the US Airline Pilots Association (USAPA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association (CAPA), the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), NY / NJ Port Authority, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) and 9/11 Families.