It’s a holiday weekend in the US and Sunday in the antipodes but the consequences of the PR blunder at Air New Zealand in revealing that locked doors on 777 cockpits can be readily bypassed will be immense.

The airline let the secret out in its reponse to a whacko story about a captain locking a co-pilot out of the cockpit for several minutes, revealing that the junior pilot used the ‘alternative’ access route which everyone in the technical media has been at pains not to discuss for years.

The flaw directly compromises the security of the cockpit and critical electronic systems.

The secret had been remarkably well kept, and with a few words, it has been blown.

Assuming the security of 777s from in flight tampering or attack is given the importance with which security issues are treated in the US and including on airliners flying into its airports or even transiting its air space counter measures will need to be put in place urgently.

First up, the alternative access will need to be guarded. Then come the geometrical or physical changes. Serious and overdue steps will have to be taken, since the risks are not predicated on persons carrying anything physically detectable by way of weapons or devices, but knowledge, and the intention to use it.

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