Security and safety criteria have dominated the A380's design from the outset. Since 11 September, many of these plans have spilled over into all other Airbus families.

Based on survey results and working with US and European regulatory authorities, Airbus has defined a series of sophisticated security and safety systems. All its aircraft may benefit from increasingly advanced systems as newer devices are developed.

Alain Garcia, Airbus executive vice-president engineering, says the company has developed plans for fully-compliant bullet-proof cockpit doors and reinforced brackets to protect against intruders. These have been approved by civil aviation authorities. In addition, the company plans stand-alone video cameras to identify who wants to enter the cockpit; a transponder to inform air traffic control (ATC) instantly of any attempted hijack; and an internal emergency communications system between cabin and cockpit.

Airbus has joined up with Honeywell to develop an aircraft environment surveillance system (AESS) designed to integrate all currently independently-functioning hazard avoidance protection systems.


The AESS will regroup the weather radar, the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) as well as the airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS) and the transponder. Onboard security initiatives, including cockpit ingress prevention, cabin protection and external assistance will also be integrated.

Following widespread input on aircraft security, Airbus has worked out additional onboard initiatives. These include remote-controlled video cameras activated automatically when entry into the cockpit is requested, identification of people through biometrics and boarding passes, as well as use of video cameras inside the cabin.

An internal emergency communication system would provide dedicated buzzers, warnings and controls to alert flightdeck crew from the cabin, and vice versa, in case of an attempted hijacking. The current situation on commercial aircraft comprises conventional communications systems and ATC transponder. Airbus's objective is to have a system to alert the ground, of a hijacking and to provide the ground with accurate information on the situation inside the aircraft.

For external assistance, Airbus proposes to install a non-reversible means of setting the transponder emergency code, sending cabin audio and pictures to the ground, and transmitting information through encrypted data link

Source: Flight Daily News