American says first planes with new cockpit doors are flying

Wednesday, October 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ American Airlines said Wednesday that the first 18 jets with new cockpit door locks are flying.

American said it was using three maintenance bases and seven field stations to install reinforced metal bars on cockpit doors of all 712 American aircraft and 169 TWA planes by early November.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered airlines to strengthen their cockpit doors within 90 days.

Cockpit doors had been designed to allow flight crews to get out quickly in an emergency. But experts recommended a redesign after Sept. 11, when authorities believe terrorists hijacked four jetliners, including two American flights, by getting into the cockpits.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta gave the airlines 30 days to begin installing tougher doors, and he said the department would offer $20 million in grants for installing new safety and security equipment on planes.

American said the reinforced door locks are being built by airline mechanics in Fort Worth; Tulsa, Okla., and Kansas City, Mo. The company said it might tap two contract vendors, C&D Aerospace of Huntington Beach, Calif., and The Nordam Group of Tulsa, to help with manufacturing.

American and TWA are owned by Fort Worth-based AMR Corp.