Wednesday, October 27, 2010

QANTAS plane cockpit locks 'can be opened by Paddle Pop stick'

I am putting this up in case there is something in it. It would need independent verification before acceptance

Qantas is putting passenger and pilot safety at risk with cockpit locks that can be opened with an ice-cream stick or a rolled-up boarding pass, an engineers' group says. Sunstate Airlines, a subsidiary of Qantas, is operating more than 20 aircraft with the unsecure locks, the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association says.

But Qantas group spokesman David Epstein said the claims were not about safety and the association had a much broader agenda.

The ALAEA's federal secretary, Stephen Purvinas, said the aircraft are flying in breach of the transport regulations because the locks are easily opened with a "Paddle Pop stick" and not fully bulletproof. "Management are aware of the problem, have provided no solution and the aircraft continue to fly in breach of the Department of Transport regulations," Mr Purvinas said in a statement.

"QantasLink opted for cheaper versions of doors that are required to be bulletproof and, on the larger aircraft they fly, resistant to grenade shrapnel. "These doors are compromised by locks which are not fully bulletproof." He said the association was calling on the aircraft to be grounded immediately until the airline is able to comply with the legislation.

Mr Epstein said the complaints are "a well-worn tactic of the ALAEA's federal secretary Steve Purvinas when enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations are not going his way".

"Safety and security are our highest priorities and the cockpit doors on 28 QantasLink turboprop aircraft meet all relevant aviation security regulatory and manufacturer requirements," Mr Epstein said. "This has been validated after consultation with the Office of Transport Security and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. "Yet Mr Purvinas is still prepared to raise his spurious claims, needlessly alarming the travelling public and damaging Qantas."

Mr Epstein said Qantas and QantasLink continually review security measures. "There is no need to for any aircraft to be grounded, and the travelling public can fly on QantasLink services with complete confidence," he said.


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