FAA proposes long-awaited rule requiring second cockpit door on new planes

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The addition of a second cockpit door has been a priority for the Air Line Pilots Association since 9/11.
The addition of a second cockpit door has been a priority for the Air Line Pilots Association since 9/11. Photo Credit: Aliaksandr Bukatsich/Shutterstock

A proposed FAA regulation would require all new aircraft delivered to commercial U.S. airlines to have a secondary cockpit door. 

The second door would enable a pilot to close the door to the cockpit before opening a door to the airplane cabin, preventing a hijacker from rushing the cockpit when a pilot steps out to use the lavatory.

The proposal, which was issued in draft form by the FAA on July 26, has been long awaited. The addition of a second cockpit door has been a priority for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) since 9/11. 

And the FAA and the DOT have long been out of compliance with a congressional mandate to address the matter. The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act directed the FAA to issue an order requiring secondary cockpit barriers by October 2019.  

Specifically, the proposed regulation would require the installation of a secondary cockpit door on each plane manufactured for delivery to a U.S. airline, beginning one year after the rule is finalized.

"Each additional layer of safety matters, acting FAA administrator Billy Nolen said in a prepared statement. "Protecting flight crews helps keep our system the safest in the world."

The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule once it is published in the Federal Register. The FAA said it will publish the final rule after the comment period closes.

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