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Sunday, May 31, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Air Industry Opposes Plan Proposal Would Require Adding Inert Gas To Jetliner Fuel Tanks

By Associated Press

Airline and aerospace industry representatives decided Tuesday to oppose a move to require that inert gas be added to jetliner fuel tanks to reduce the risk of explosion.

Recommendations adopted in the day-long private meeting of nearly 100 people will be put into final form over the next week or so and sent to the Federal Aviation Administration at month’s end, officials said.

No official statement was issued, but several participants said there was general agreement on a response to recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board on Dec. 13.

“Pretty constructive,” said Abdul K. Durrani of Saudi Arabia Airlines. “Everybody had some recommendations.”

“We exchanged views. It went all right,” said Aslam Khan, engineering manager of Pakistan Air Lines. “We actually are still working. I wouldn’t say we have anything final.”

The meeting was sponsored by the Air Transport Association, a U.S. airline association, and arranged by the Boeing Co., the world’s largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, almost a year after the disaster that led to the recommendations, the destruction of TWA Flight 800 last July 17 off Long Island, N.Y., on a flight to France. All 230 people on the Boeing 747 died.

Investigators determined the center fuel tank exploded but have yet to decide what ignited it.

The NTSB recommendations, intended to reducing the risk of explosion from any source, include installation of cockpit instruments to monitor fuel tank temperatures, additional insulation between fuel tanks and heat sources such as air conditioning packs and extra fuel to prevent explosive vapor buildup in partially empty tanks.

The Federal Aviation Administration asked in April for comments on the recommendations and the meeting was called to formulate a unified industry response, said Douglas M. Webb, a Boeing spokesman. Participants included representatives from about 40 airlines and aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing’s chief competitor, Airbus Industrie.

Comments are due by Aug. 1.

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