AIRLINE organisations have collectively told the US Federal Aviation Administration that more study is required before the agency orders any costly changes in the way it certificates commercial-aircraft fuel tanks.

They question the efficiency of measures recommended by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for preventing the ignition of fuel/air vapour in fuel tanks. The airline groups, which include the Air Transport Association, Aerospace Industries Association and Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, responded to an FAA request for comment on the feasibility of implementing NTSB recommendations resulting from investigation of the crash of a Trans World Airlines Boeing 747-100 near New York in July 1996 .

The NTSB is urging the FAA to require revised fuelling procedures and addition of fuel-tank temperature displays. It also recommends installation of nitrogen-inerting systems and additional insulation between heat-generating components and tanks. The airlines say that the "-safety benefit must be well documented" before any changes are ordered.

Source: Flight International