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The FAA Has Issued An Urgent Airworthiness Directive For Boeing 737 Airplanes Because the Emergency Oxygen Masks Might Not Work

The FAA Has Issued An Urgent Airworthiness Directive For Boeing 737 Airplanes Because the Emergency Oxygen Masks Might Not Work

a woman wearing a mask and yellow vest pointing at an object

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an urgent airworthiness directive for many Boeing 737 model aircraft on Monday after multiple airlines reported an issue with the emergency passenger oxygen masks which might stop them from working in the event of a decompression.

Emergency passenger oxygen on Boeing 737 aircraft is supplied by individual chemical oxygen generators. If one generator fails, then the oxygen supply to up to three seats could be affected, while other seats should still receive oxygen.

The FAA has been investigating the individual oxygen generators on several 737 models, including Boeing’s ill-fated 737MAX line up after receiving “multiple reports” from various airlines of issues with the oxygen generators.

The issue stems from adhesive pads that secure the generators in place in the ‘passenger service unit’ in the cabin ceiling. In some cases, the adhesive pads have failed to keep the generators in place, causing them to shift out of place.

The FAA says it is concerned that the PSU oxygen generators “might become non-functional, which could result in an ability to provide supplemental oxygen to passengers during a depressurization event”.

Ordinarily, the FAA would give airlines, manufacturers and other interested parties at least 30m days to comment on a proposed airworthiness directive before it is adopted but in this case, the FAA is pushing ahead and adopting the AD with immediate effect.

In a statement, the FAA said the agency “has found that the risk to the flying public justifies forgoing notice and comment prior to the adoption of this rule because PSU oxygen generators might shift out of position”.

Monday’s airworthiness directive will affect around 2,612 airplanes in the United States, and the FAA wants affected airlines to carry out the necessary inspections and repair work within the usual comment period.

The latest blow of Boeing’s 737 lineup came just hours after the manufacturer reached a plea deal with the Department of Justice in which Boeing will plead guilty to a federal crime of defrauding US authorities.

The plea deal stems from a deferred prosecution order that Boeing reached with the DOJ into the fatal crashes of an Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air 737MAX in 2018 and 2019.

View Comments (2)
  • Slight correction:

    might become non-functional, which could result in an INability to provide supplemental oxygen to passengers during a depressurization event”.

    Should read ‘inability to provide…

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