Airbus has today gained certification from the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) for its new cockpit doors that meet all recently introduced and pre-existing safety and security regulations. The first conversion kits will be available for in-service aircraft from the end of May, while all aircraft from the production line will have the doors fitted as standard from August. This certification for the Single Aisle Family paves the way for the door certification of the other members of the Airbus product range and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) within the next few weeks.

"We have certified, within a very demanding schedule, a new door that both meets the new security requirements and is fully compliant with all current regulations, including the critical rapid decompression criteria," said Airbus Executive Vice-President Engineering Alain Garcia. "We are very proud to be the first large airliner manufacturer to have achieved this."

The new cockpit door protects the crew from unauthorized entry while also delivering a number of safety contingencies. It features reinforced attachments, a reinforced and bullet proof main door panel, an escape panel, electrical door latching, an electronic entry pad located in the cabin, and a warning light and buzzer in the cockpit. In addition, a toggle control in the cockpit enables the crew to control access to the cockpit and secure the door in case of need.

"Airbus engineers have designed a solution which can be easily introduced into our aircraft, while minimising the burden for our customers and operators," said Airbus Executive Vice-President Customer Services Patrick Gavin.

Conversion kits are offered to customers at a reduced price: US$ 23,000 for the single-aisle kits, and US$ 29,000 for widebodies. All certification and engineering costs have been assumed by Airbus. In addition, downtime for the retrofitting of in-service aircraft has been kept to an absolute minimum so airlines retrofitting the doors to their Airbus single-aisles can do so within 48 hours.

The new cockpit doors are just one of a series of complementary measures being made available by Airbus. These also include a stand alone video camera system allowing the cabin area outside the door to be monitored from the cockpit. The full provisions for this system will be installed as standard on all Airbus aircraft from August. Airbus has also developed two possible solutions to ensure that the transponder signal from the aircraft to air traffic control cannot be interrupted in the event of an attack. And, to further improve communication between crews in the cabin and in the cockpit, Airbus has found a way for crew in each part of the aircraft to alert other crew members should an emergency situation arise.