FAA's final rule on installing new, more tamper-resistant chemical oxygen generator-equipped lavatory supplemental oxygen systems hit the Federal Register this morning. FAA settled on a 37-month compliance time for getting the systems, removed or disabled last year to ensure they could not be used by nefarious passengers to start onboard fires, installed in the U.S. fleet. FAA's draft of the rule, issued in February, included a 24-month compliance window.
Judging by the comments in the rulemaking's docket, the compliance time will be a challenge. Operators and OEMs that weighed in proposed timeframes ranging between 36 and 60 months. Airlines urged FAA to consider a larger compliance window in part so the modifications could be coupled with scheduled heavy maintenance checks. Even the rulemaking advisory committee tasked to propose recommendations on the new rule's contents said a 48-month timeframe would be challenging, FAA noted in the final rule. ALPA and AFA supported the original, 24-month deadline.
Adding to the challenge, operators note: nobody has come up with an approved chemical oxygen generator-equipped system that satisfies the new directive.