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Cockpit security could be improved

The Air Canada Pilots Association says there could be better protection for airplane cockpits against terrorist attack.


September 19, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

The Air Canada Pilots Association says there could be better protection for airplane cockpits against terrorist attack.

Serge Beaulieu, vice-president of the association, said Sunday that a single door currently separates the cockpit from the cabin of the plane but there is a more secure option.

A two-door system creates a secure space between the cabin and the cockpit. Beaulieu said the single-door system works well for now but there needs to be improvement in the long term.

“The system we have right now functions very well,'' Beaulie said, because flight crews use proper security measures. “Except, the two-door system allows one door to be shut, the cockpit door, before opening the second to exit. It means if ever there was an attack, a person can't pass through the first door that
is locked.''

An internal association memo, sent to members and obtained by the Journal de Montreal newspaper, said the single-door system does not provide optimal security.

According to a report in the French-language newspaper on Sunday, the association's president, Luc Grignon, said the double doors should be installed. But Beaulieu said Sunday that Grignon's comments were personal
and did not reflect union demands.

The costly double doors are already used in airplanes operated by the Israeli airline El Al.
Beaulieu said the more secure system will be the subject of discussions between authorities and airlines.

“We're satisfied with what's in place now but on our shopping list, in a perfect world, the two-door system, in our opinion, is more secure,'' Beaulieu said.

Isabelle Arthur, spokeswoman for Air Canada, told the Journal de Montreal that security is a priority for the airline, which she pointed out was the first to reinforce cockpit doors after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.