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Pilots union says United is removing security gates on its 787s

June 19, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • An All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner comes in for a landing at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
An All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner comes in for a landing… (Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP/Getty )

A pilots union contends United Air Lines is paying to remove extra cockpit security gates on its new Boeing 787 planes.

The allegation by the Air Line Pilots Association was reported Tuesday by the Associated Press but was not confirmed by the airline.

All airlines beefed up cockpit doors after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The 787 planes include an extra folding security gate that prevents passengers from entering the cockpit even when the metal security door is opened so pilots can leave the cockpit to use the restroom or rest in bunks.

Federal rules do not require airlines to install the extra metal gates but a letter from the union to the airline says United is paying to remove the gates, according to the Associated Press.

“It makes no logical sense for a safety and security conscious airline with the history of United to pay for the removal of this device that further protects the flight deck from those with hostile intent,” the letter dated Monday said.

The secondary metal gate is just one component of flight security, according to United spokeswoman Christen David, who said the combination of security measures can vary on different planes.

She declined to discuss the barriers in detail, but told the Associated Press “we are thorough in carrying out our security responsibilities for every flight. The safety and security of our employees and customers are our top priorities.”

United expects to get at least five 787s this year. The airline is owned by Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc.

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