Delta Air Lines is to equip all its aircraft with full-face cockpit oxygen masks from BE Aerospace.

The move follows a number of fatal fires and comes ahead of an anticipated Federal Aviation Administration ruling on their use.

The airline plans to fit the system to all 600 of its Boeing 737, 757, 767, 777, MD-11, MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft by the first quarter of 2001, including all new delivered aircraft, for $7.2 million. BE's newly acquired Nellcor Puritan Bennett subsidiary will deliver the first 150 masks in January, with the new equipment to be made a standard fit on flight training simulators from April.

Delta has opted for a single-piece self-sealing mask, incorporating an oxygen regulator and goggles. The mask's harness inflates when pulled from the storage and can be fitted and operating in less than 5s using one hand, claims the manufacturer. The system is certified for use up to 45,000ft (13,725m).

Other carriers to have ordered the single "sweep-on" or two-piece system include America West, FedEx, SAS and United, but Delta is thought to be one of the first planning to equip its entire fleet. "After the Swissair and ValuJet crashes, a lot of airlines are ordering," says an industry official.

Source: Flight International