Does an Aircraft Have a Key?

Does an Aircraft Have a Key?

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When we think of vehicles, we immediately associate them with keys for ignition, doors, and compartments. The key provides security and safety of the vehicle along with everything contained inside of it. Thus, it’s reasonable for airplanes to have a key considering how large and valuable they are.

But is that really the case?

You’d be surprised to learn that when it comes to aircraft, bigger commercial jets like the Boeing 747 do not have keys. Accessing the boarding door and the ignition can be accessed and turned on respectively without the need for a key. However, there are some private jets that actually do have keys, but not all. These smaller aircraft are owned and used by individuals.

Does This Make the Keyless Aircraft More Prone to Theft?

The short answer is no. When not in use, passenger jets are housed in airport hangars which are heavily guarded by surveillance cameras and security personnel. Moreover, airline staff and passengers can only gain access to the aircraft via moveable stairs or a jet bridge. These things, like the aircraft, are also protected by airport security and cannot be used by unauthorized persons.

The ignition for most large aircraft also does not require a key. But what if some random person somehow managed to get inside the cockpit without getting caught? Can they simply push the “Start” button and successfully take the plane for themselves? Well, not really. First of all, there is no simple “Start” button. Starting an aircraft engine is complex and requires training. A lot of buttons, knobs, and levers need to be manipulated in a consecutive manner before the APU or GPU provides power to the engine.


The next time you board a plane, you can rest at ease knowing that your ride has a complex security system that prevents thieves from breaking in and hijacking it.

Does an Aircraft Have a Key?

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