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Cargo Carriers Want Door Exemption

March 29, 2002

ATLANTA (AP) _ United Parcel Service and other air cargo carriers are asking the government to grant them an exemption from new rules requiring stronger cockpit doors to prevent attacks on pilots.

The Cargo Airline Association says cargo companies should have the option of increasing passenger screening instead of installing bulletproof cockpit doors.

The Federal Aviation Administration ruled in January that U.S. passenger and cargo airlines must install the doors by April 2003.

``We absolutely believe the FAA needs to differentiate between passenger planes and cargo planes,″ UPS spokesman Norman Black said. ``They shouldn’t impose a one-size-fits-all regulation.″

The government rejected UPS’s first petition for an exemption, but the Atlanta-based company wants the agency to reconsider. Airborne, Atlas Air and Emery Worldwide also want to be exempt from the requirement.

However, FedEx said it plans to install the bulletproof doors. In 1994, an off-duty FedEx pilot tried to commandeer one of the company’s DC-10s.

Federal officials say they are willing to listen to cargo carriers, but warn that cargo jets could be used as suicide weapons like the four jets hijacked and crashed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The FAA estimates strengthening cockpit doors will cost between $12,000 and $17,000 per aircraft, but industry officials say the actual cost may be much higher. UPS owns about 250 airplanes.

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