Thursday, September 16, 2021

Federation of Indian Pilots wants enhanced security measures on passenger aircraft

On the day the world marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the Unites States, the Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP), a body which comprises more than 5,000 members most of whom are airline pilots, has written a letter to the Director General of Civil Aviation, calling the Indian regulator to make it mandatory for the installation of secondary flight deck barriers in all Indian-registered aircraft used in airline operations.

A secondary flight deck barrier is a lightweight device that is easy to deploy and stow and is installed between the passenger cabin and the cockpit door. After the tragic events of 9/11, all aircraft used in passenger airline operations have reinforced cockpit entry doors installed. These doors are designed to reduce the vulnerability of another 9/11-type of attack.

Capt. Surinder Mehta, president of the FIP, said the entire approach to aviation security had undergone a paradigm shift the world over after 9/11 and that a secondary flight deck barrier would block access to the flight deck whenever the reinforced door is opened in flight during rest breaks, serving of meals, and so on.

The FIP letter states: “The use of current inflight practices, i.e., reliance on a reinforced flight deck door and supplementary crew procedures, does not provide a complete solution for securing the flight deck and makes the cabin crew extremely vulnerable. In addition, secondary barriers provide a secure buffer area before the cockpit door that gives the crew an opportunity to visually assess a perceived threat and reveal a perpetrator’s hostile intent to crew members and sky marshals which would afford them the benefit of critical extra seconds to react.”

16/09/21 Ravi Sharma/Frontline

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