WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), André Carson (D-IN), Tom Kean Jr. (R-NJ), and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) introduced the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act (H.R. 911). The legislation would mandate the installation of secondary cockpit barriers in commercial passenger aircrafts in order to protect American citizens from potential terrorist attacks similar to 9/11. Under the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act, airlines would be required to install wire-mesh gates - that are inexpensive and lightweight – on all aircrafts between the passenger cabin and cockpit door, blocking access to the flight deck while in the air.
The legislation honors Captain Victor J. Saracini, who lost his life after his plane was hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Saracini’s widow, Ellen, has become a national advocate for aviation safety. The legislation is endorsed by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is leading the Senate companion to be introduced at a later date.
“Over two decades have passed since radical terrorists hijacked my husband’s airplane on our own soil,and our nation’s aircrafts are still not equipped to adequately respond to the exact same attack that happened on September 11th,” said Saracini. “I am committed to ensuring that secondary cockpit barriers are included on all commercial aircraft, and I’m grateful to this group of bipartisan lawmakers for introducing this legislation. We must secure our skies and protect passengers, flight crews, and potential targets from the threat of any future breach."
“Securing the safety of our nation’s aviation is critical to keeping our nation safe. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Congress has made great progress on aircraft safety, and this bipartisan legislation is essential to ensure passenger safety in the air and that passengers and pilots are protected against terrorist hijackers,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I’m grateful to stand with my constituent, Ellen Saracini, to honor her late husband, and I appreciate the support of my colleagues. Together, we must do everything in our power to ensure that the horrific events of 9/11 are never able to happen again.”
"I am proud to partner with Rep. Fitzpatrick and our colleagues to reintroduce H.R. 911, the Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act. This long-overdue bill will close a persistent safety risk to the flight deck during in-flight operations. Secondary Cockpit Barriers are an effective means to keep the flight crew and passengers safe,” said Congressman Carson. “Although we succeeded in requiring these barriers on newly manufactured planes with the Carson Amendment during our last FAA Reauthorization, these devices still haven't been installed yet. That's why we need this bill, to require these critical safety features on all passenger aircraft -- old and new. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this important measure signed into law."
“Secondary cockpit barriers have proven to significantly enhance security for passengers and crew, which is why all new commercial aircraft are now required to have them,” said Congressman Smith. “Our bipartisan Saracini Enhanced Aviation Act will ensure that these meaningful security measures are installed on all aircraft—not just the new planes—to protect all passengers, pilots, and flight crews.”
"Securing the safety of our skies is absolutely critical to preventing another terrorist attack like 9/11, which killed more than 700 New Jersey residents and took the lives of hundreds of our nation’s first responders,” said Congressman Gottheimer. “Federal legislation that I helped pass already requires secondary barriers on new commercial aircraft. Now, it’s time we make sure that existing commercial aircraft are safe as well. Why would we have these commonsense safety requirements for some planes but not others? We must do everything we can to keep our airplanes and our nation safe from terror attacks."
“I am proud to cosponsor this legislation because improving the safety of our nation’s aviation is a non-partisan issue,” said Congressman Kean. “Our country has made major improvements to aircraft safety since 9/11, and this legislation takes further steps to protect our pilots and passengers. Safety and security in our skies should always come first.”
“I am proud to co-lead the bipartisan Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act in effort to make our nation’s skies safer and ensure our 9/11 heroes, like Captain Victor J. Saracini, are never forgotten,” said Congressman Lynch. “These barriers to the flight deck provide an extra safety precaution that could prevent a terrorist attack or any other potentially devastating breach while in air. We must be proactive to keep our aircraft secure and this bill will help ensure tragedies like 9/11 never happen again and give passengers, pilots and flight crews additional protection and assurance for a safe flight.”
“ALPA has long supported the use of secondary barriers to preserve the integrity of the flightdeck and keep crews and passengers safe,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, ALPA President. “We are grateful to Reps. Fitzpatrick, Carson, Smith, Gottheimer, Kean, and Lynch for their leadership and for honoring Capt. Saracini’s memory by ensuring that these cost-effective security devices are installed on all passenger aircraft.”