FAA's agenda for 2021 includes two changes that are long overdue

The FAA says requiring a secondary cockpit door on new aircraft and a minimum flight attendant rest period of 10 hours between flights are regulatory priorities for the coming year.

The agency and its parent cabinet department, the DOT, are already long out of compliance on congressional mandates to address both matters. The 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act directed the FAA to issue an order requiring secondary cockpit barriers by October 2019. The same bill required the DOT to write the 10-hour rest requirement into federal code within 30 days.

The DOT identified both mandates as priorities in its recently released Spring Regulatory Agenda.

Related: Biden’s quick moves on travel policy may signal more aviation regulation

The addition of a second cockpit door on new commercial aircraft has been a priority of the Air Line Pilots Association Union (ALPA) since 9/11. The second door would enable a pilot to close the door to the cockpit before opening a door to the airplane cabin. As such, they could prevent a hijacker from rushing the cockpit when a pilot steps out to use the lavatory.

The DOT will go through a public rule-making process before implementing a second door requirement.

Similarly, flight attendants’ unions have pushed for the 10-hour rest rule. Currently, airlines are required to schedule eight hours of rest for flight attendants between flights. Increasing the requirement would put flight attendants on a par with pilots.

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