GUY NORRIS / LOS ANGELES
Moves to upgrade the security of commercial airliners are accelerating, with Airbus releasing revised flightdeck door designs and the formation by Boeing of a Security and Safety Services Organisation.
Airbus has provided details of a strengthened door to operators after a series of aircraft security meetings in the US and Europe earlier this month. Airbus is discussing aircraft security issues with Boeing, which has formed a security and safety services organisation.
The new Boeing organisation, headed by Charlie Higgins, says its focus "will be to help customers implement the recommendations of the US Department of Transportation Rapid Response Team on aircraft security". Boeing plans to offer its door design next month.
"The big question is how we get the regulatory authorities on both sides of the Atlantic to agree," says Higgins. A common design will be suitable for both retrofit and new aircraft. Boeing's retrofit work will be processed through its Commercial Airplane Services arm.
Meanwhile, Raisbeck Engineering and Flight Structures is developing independent long-term solutions to the new door requirement. The first Raisbeck Armoured Cockpit Security System has entered service on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737.
JetBlue expects to complete fleet-wide retrofit of Kevlar-reinforced doors by the end of the month and is studying adapting its Live TV in-flight entertainment system to provide cabin video surveillance.
Many more carriers, such as American Airlines and United Airlines, are rushing to complete fleet retrofits with the interim cross-bar and deadbolt door solutions.
Honeywell is also working on a package of measures, including: smart card or biometric identification control of access to the jetway; video monitoring of the cabin and the ramp area; avionic changes to ensure uninterruptable transponder operation; protection from collision with buildings or objects using terrain/obstacle databases; and crash survivable video recorders and deployable flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
Source: Flight International