It is alarming that after decades of opposition to the carrying of firearms by flightcrew, the USA has sanctioned their use. Access to a flightdeck has traditionally been made easy to make an escape available to the flightcrew in an emergency. Times have changed and it is now essential that unauthorised entry must be denied as far as possible.

The traditional argument against a secure flightdeck is that if a member of the cabin crew or a passenger were to be threatened, the flightdeck crew would capitulate and give access to the flightdeck. We know that hijackers who want access to the flightdeck may want to control the aircraft for their own objectives. The killing of crew or passengers is the means to that end. Access would ultimately lead to the same tragic end in the worst scenario.

Life is no longer as safe and predictable as it once was. We need to be prepared to band together to defend ourselves and, in the case of flying, support flightcrews who are responsible for our routine safety.

Guns on the flightdeck will be useless against a well-trained and determined hijacker. Denying access to the flightdeck for as long as possible is the only viable philosophy and the cabin crew and passengers must be prepared to play their part.

Flightcrews are rigorously trained to cope with emergencies, but cannot be expected to handle terrorist attacks like the 11 September events without support.

M Dunsmore Harrogate, UK

Source: Flight International