Airlines Move to Boost In-Flight Security

19 October 2001

U.S. airlines unveiled new plans on Tuesday to boost security in their airplanes following the Sept. 11 jetliner attacks, with Alaska Airlines becoming the second carrier this week to say it would install bullet-proof doors in all its jets.

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized U.S. airlines to find solutions for reinforcing the cockpits in their aircraft within 90 days, leaving them wide discretion to retrofit doors as they think best. Most major airlines seem to be opting for a temporary solution by reinforcing the doors to the cockpit with a cross-bar locking device. A select few are choosing to move straight to bullet-proof Kevlar doors they say will make the cockpit impenetrable to would-be hijackers and satisfy long-term FAA requirements.

Low-cost New York-based start-up JetBlue Airways announced on Monday it was outfitting its 18 Airbus planes with $10,000 bullet-proof equipment made by Woodstock, Georgia-based Advanced Composite Technologies and installing hidden TV cameras.

Alaska, the country's ninth largest airline and a unit of Alaska Air Group Inc., said on Tuesday it had also begun installing bullet-proof kits, made by Seattle-based Raisbeck Engineering Inc., on its fleet of 102 aircraft. Other airlines said on Tuesday they were reinforcing the doors to the flight-deck, but were not going down the Alaska and JetBlue road straight away.

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