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Senate Passes Toomey Measure To Protect Travelers from Terrorists As Part Of Bipartisan Aviation Bil

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey today voted for final passage of the bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. This aviation bill – which the Senate passed by a 95 – 3 vote – will continue funding air traffic control operations, provide federal assistance to airports, and reform airport security. The legislation also included an amendment championed by Sen. Toomey and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to protect passengers, pilots, and flight attendants on airplanes by requiring new commercial aircraft to have a secondary barrier to prevent access to the flight deck.

Toomey’s proposal honors Bucks County resident Captain Victor Saracini who piloted United Flight 175 when it was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center. While cockpit doors are currently reinforced, a secondary barrier will protect passengers and crew during times in flights when cockpit doors are opened.

“Passing this bill is an important bipartisan step that will advance American aviation, protect passengers, and help improve our nation’s airports and aviation infrastructure,” said Sen. Toomey. “I am particularly pleased that the final bill includes my amendment to require secondary barriers on new commercial aircraft to prevent terrorists from entering the cockpit, as we saw during the September 11th attacks. These barriers are an inexpensive, reasonable way to make our commercial airplanes safer. I also want to commend Ellen Saracini, of Bucks County, for her passionate advocacy for secondary barriers. Without her efforts, this bipartisan proposal would not have passed. We are now one step closer to getting this commonsense safety measure enacted into law, and I will continue to fight for it.”

A secondary cockpit barrier is a light weight wire-mesh gate installed between the passenger cabin and cockpit door that is locked into place and blocks access to the flight deck. In 2003, a voluntary airline industry movement toward adopting secondary barriers began, but deployment of the devices waned. The barriers provide significantly more security to airline companies, their employees, and passengers. A 2007 study conducted at the request of the Airline Pilots Association International and the airline industry concluded that secondary cockpit barrier doors are the most cost-effective, efficient, and safest way to protect the cockpit.

SOURCE: U.S Senator Pat Toomey press release