FAA Allowing Airliners To Reinforce Cockpit Doors

July 7, 2008 - 8:19 PM

(CNSNews.com) - The recent terrorist attacks against New York and Washington and Monday's in-flight scare caused by a passenger aboard a Chicago-bound commercial jetliner caused the Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday to announce that airlines will now be allowed to reinforce cockpit doors aboard commercial aircraft.

In particular, the newest FAA regulations will leave it up to each airline to determine the safest and most-effective way to reinforce access to the flight deck. The rules went into effect immediately and mandate no specific design or engineering standards.

However, the FAA requires airlines to notify the agency within 90 days about any changes in order for the agency to determine if those changes will create an unacceptable safety risk.

"We're not talking about rocket science. We're talking about immediate measures that are going to be taken to increase the security of the flight deck. From what we understand, basically, most carriers are putting some sort of a metal bar there," according to FAA spokesman Les Dorr.

"Technically," Dorr said, "the FAA has to approve everything that goes on the airplane. Because of the present situation, that sort of modification does not seem to us to be one that needs to be tied up in a lot of paperwork."

He continued, "We could theoretically make them change it, however, the long-term solution is going to be redesign and retrofit some sort of improved cockpit barrier. So, this is only a temporary measure and only because of the exigencies of the situation."

Meanwhile, the FAA Monday issued a new advisory for air travelers in the wake of last month's terrorist attacks. Travelers will now be limited to carrying one carry-on bag and one personal item on all airline flights.

For example, a "purse" and "briefcase" fit the criteria of "carry-on bag" and "personal bag," according to an FAA statement.

"All electronic items, such as laptops and cell phones, may be subjected to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case so that both can be x-rayed separately," the statement said.

Items that the FAA will prohibit passengers from carrying on flights are "knives, of any length, composition or description." Carpet knives and box cutters, any device with a folding or retractable blade, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors and metal nail files.

Other prohibited items are corkscrews, hockey sticks, golf clubs, pool cues, baseball and softball bats and ski poles.

The FAA said such items "must be placed in, or transported as, checked baggage" or those items will be confiscated.

Airline passengers will be allowed to carry walking canes and umbrellas, nail clippers, safety razors (including disposable razors), syringes, tweezers and eye lash curlers on flights.

The FAA is encouraging passengers to take public transportation to airports whenever possible. Curbside check-in, which was prohibited during the Persian Gulf War in the 90s, is being permitted, but only on an airline-to-airline basis.