This morning Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), together with 9/11 pilot widow Ellen Saracini, announced a bipartisan bill to protect Americans from 9/11-type airliner attacks by installing secondary barriers in airline cockpits.
The Saracini Aviation Safety Act [H.R.1775], would require airlines to install and maintain a secondary cockpit barrier on commercial planes to further protect the cockpit area. The secondary barriers serve as a cost-effective and prudent deterrent to potential terrorists attempting to plan and execute attacks using airliners as a weapon.
"If we learned anything from the 9/11 attack, it is that deterrence is essential to protecting Americans," said Fitzpatrick.
"After the 9/11 attacks, the FAA mandated the installation of reinforced cockpit doors on all commercial flights," said Fitzpatrick, "The problem is that at some point, the pilots need to open the cockpit door to get a meal or rest. That is the exact moment when terrorists strike."
"Secondary barriers simply fulfill the intent of the efforts that were started over a decade ago by adding another layer of protection," continued Fitzpatrick, "Many airliners designed today already include the secondary barrier."
Fitzpatrick was joined by Ellen Saracini, widow of 9/11 United Flight 175 pilot Victor Saracini, a Bucks County resident who is a passionate and thoughtful advocate for safety after the 9/11 attacks.
Ellen Saracini, who was instrumental in the introduction of the bill, stated, "On September 11, 2001, my two young daughters and I lost the love of our lives -- their father and my husband. There are 2,973 other similar stories around the country of lost love ones on that infamous day in our nations' history. It is obvious with the advent of knives being reintroduced to carry-on luggage, budget cuts in federal law enforcement on airplanes, and now the tragic events of Boston -- that we cannot become complacent to the point of allowing another 9/11 to happen again."
Saracini added, "Secondary Barriers are the second step in a two-step process to secure the airplane cockpit. The first step was installing the reinforced cockpit door. That part of the process is complete. Now it's imperative to complete the second step in order to prevent a repeat of 9/11".
A recent study conducted by the FAA, TSA, Airline Companies and Security Experts at the request of the airline industry concluded that secondary barrier cockpit doors are the most cost-effective, efficient, and safest way to protect the cockpit.
"Pilots want the barriers, airplane designers can install the barriers affordably, and passengers deserve the peace of mind to know that reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure their safety," said Fitzpatrick.
"The 9/11 Commission determined that the attacks were suffered due to a series of failures," said Fitzpatrick, "Secondary barriers serve as a fail-safe to ensure reasonable measures are taken to prevent airliners from being used as weapons of terror."
Joining Fitzpatrick and Saracini at the announcement were pilots, a representative from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), and local law makers. The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Grimm, Barletta, Marino, King, Schwartz, Cartwright, Fattah, and Brady.