Bill Calls for Cockpit Doors on All-Cargo Flights
A new bill in Congress would tighten up a loophole that left pilots on all-cargo flights subject to harm through open cockpit doors.
Sponsored by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), the legislation (H.R. 6190) would require the installation of intrusion resistant cockpit doors in all-cargo airliners. The bill is supported by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
The move seeks to seal up a hole in post-9/11 legislation that served to protect pilots. In the aftermath of attacks on pilots and the hi-jacking of planes during the 9/11 attack, Congress passed legislation requiring hardened of the doors on any airliner cockpit. However, at the time, most commercial all-cargo airliners did not have cockpit doors, as do most of the all-cargo airliners built today.
The proposed legislation is an effort to protect the pilots of all-cargo airliners.
“For far too long, there has been a dangerous double standard when it comes to common safety and security provisions for cargo pilots,” Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president, said. Thanks to Reps. Garcia and Fitzpatrick’s leadership, this bill will help advance commercial aviation by protecting not only pilots and their cargo but also citizens in communities on the ground and our aviation network.”
The pilot’s organization said one good example of the danger facing all-cargo pilots is when they are transporting large animals. During those flights, animal handlers are often on board and equipped with animal tranquilizers, in order to respond to animal-related emergencies. The trainers, the group said, are not required to meet the same background checks and security clearances. Without a cockpit door, the pilots are in danger, the group said.
“The all-cargo airline arena continues to be identified as a significant security target in our aviation system, yet current regulatory requirements allow relatively unfettered access to the cargo flight deck during flight operations,” DePete said. “ALPA encourages Congress to pass this important bipartisan bill to mandate hardened cockpit doors on all-cargo airliners and close the gap in aviation safety loopholes for cargo pilots.”