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United Airlines to Add Cockpit Security

September 3, 2004

United Airlines to Add Cockpit Security
September 3, 2004 – United Airlines announced this week that it will install steel barriers that can be fastened across front aisles of planes to protect pilots from attacks when the cockpit door is opened during flight. This voluntary security effort exceeds the reinforced cockpit doors ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration after the terrorist attacks.

"We’ve always been intent on taking security an extra step with a secondary barrier to prevent unauthorized access to the cockpit and protect passengers and crew members from potential harm," United spokesman Jeff Green said.

The new security barrier is made of steel cables and extends from the floor of the plane almost to the ceiling. They can be moved into a locking position to the wall off the galley, forward lavatory and cockpit.

While the airline and federal security officials declined to comment if the move is linked to recent suspicious behavior, individuals have reportedly made moves toward the cockpit or not returned to their seats when asked. Such aggressive moves have been interpreted as possible tests by terrorists of on-board security.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the reinforced cockpit doors ordered by the FAA are bulletproof and designed to withstand a hand grenade. However, the flight deck is sill vulnerable when the cockpit doors are opened for pilots to receive meals or use the lavatories.

The new barriers will delay an intruder from moving passed the galley and into the cockpit, said Amy von Walter, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

United’s Green reports that united has installed barrier in 25 of its 757s and plans to finish the 757 fleet of 97 planes in October. Additional aircrafts will receive the barriers over the next year.

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