New doors for old

US Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta has announced that foreign airlines must install new flight deck doors on aircraft serving the US by April 9th, 2003. Foreign airlines must also install temporary locking devices within 60 days of publication of the rule in the US Federal Register.

On January 15th, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published new standards for flight decks doors to protect airline and cargo crews from intrusion and small arms fire or fragmentation devices, such as grenades.

More than 6,000 US aircraft will have new doors installed by April 9, 2003. The major US airlines voluntarily installed near-term modifications to reinforce doors soon after September 11th, 2001. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recently said that its 187 member- countries would install doors that meet security standards similar to those adopted by the FAA but not until November 2003, seven months after the FAA deadline. There is no ICAO requirement for near-term fixes to flight deck doors.

‘Many foreign airlines have already reinforced their doors,’ said FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. ‘The FAA will continue working with foreign aviation authorities around the world to keep passengers and crew as safe as possible.’

Beginning on October 9th, the FAA issued a series of regulations that allowed near-term door reinforcement to be carried out as soon as possible by providing airlines and cargo operators with temporary regulatory relief. The FAA understands that many foreign governments are prepared to grant similar temporary relief from their corresponding standards.

The FAA estimates that 1,921 foreign airplanes will need to be retrofitted. There are a number of doors that meet or exceed the requirements of this rule. Depending on which door is chosen, the cost of this rule will range from a low of approximately $40.9 million to a high of $80.2 million.

The FAA’s final rule is available at www.faa.gov/avr/arm/nprm.cfm and will be published in the US Federal Register.