Fitzpatrick offers bill requiring secondary cockpit barriers on specific aircraft

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Feb. 9 sponsored bipartisan legislation that would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue an order requiring installation of a secondary cockpit barrier on commercial passenger aircraft.

“Securing the safety of our nation’s aviation is critical to keeping our nation safe,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “Following the tragic events of Sept. 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.” 

The Saracini Enhanced Aviation Safety Act, H.R. 911, which Rep. Fitzpatrick introduced alongside five original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), would mandate that airlines be required to install inexpensive and lightweight wire-mesh gates between the passenger cabin and cockpit door to block access to the flight deck while the plane is in flight, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

The legislation honors Capt. Victor J. Saracini, who lost his life after his plane was hijacked on 9/11 and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. His widow, Ellen Saracini, has become a national advocate for aviation safety. 

“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 Sept. 11,” Ellen Saracini said. “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.”

“I’m grateful to stand with my constituent, Ellen Saracini, to honor her late husband, and I appreciate the support of my colleagues,” added Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Together, we must do everything in our power to ensure that the horrific events of 9/11 are never able to happen again.”

The legislation is endorsed by the Air Line Pilots Association, and Rep. Fitzpatrick’s staff said that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) will introduce his chamber’s companion bill at a later date.