Airlines Fight FAA Rule – WSJ

On May 7, The Wall Street Journal published a piece by Andy Pasztor, about Airlines for America‘s letter to FAA seeking to further delay a safety measure mandated by a 2008 regulation designed to prevent another tragedy like TWA 800. NADA/F is distressed at the industry’s stalling on this issue and hopes the FAA won’t let this slide.

Safety delayed IS safety denied!

Below is Matt Ziemkiewicz’ response letter:

May 10, 2012

To the Editor:

Re: Wall Street Journal article

May 8, 2012 Airlines Fight FAA Rule Industry Seeks More Time to Modify Fuel Tanks, Targets Other Safety Mandates By ANDY PASZTOR

The National Air Disaster Alliance/ Foundation (NADA/F) is disappointed in Airlines for America request to delay instituting the long overdue FAA required fuel tank inerting systems that will prevent fuel tank explosions. Elimination of explosive and flammable fuel vapors on airplanes has been a long standing NTSB Most Wanted List safety improvement. Such a device would have prevented TWA Flight 800 and several other fiery disasters.

In July 2008, the Department of Transportation Secretary Peters, FAA Administrator Sturgel, and NTSB Chairman Rosenker announced very publicly that a rule has been instituted mandating retro fit of existing aircraft and all new production aircraft to be fitted with devices to eliminate the explosive fuel vapor environment in fuel tanks. The technology has evolved from a large and involved process to a smaller more economical unit. There has already been over ten years of bureaucratic and industry induced delays and compromise to get this requirement instituted in July 2008.

We are disturbed that Airlines for America appears to be looking more at the bottom line than on safety. It also seems the FAA approval process is contributing to implementation delays. NADA/F wants air travel to be as safe and responsible as possible, the traveling public demands it. It is not only a moral responsibility but a practical one to ensure the highest standards of safety are adhered to by the industry. It is up to the aviation industry and the FAA to “do the right thing” and get these inerting devices on airplanes that present risk, streamline the bureaucratic process and avoid any further delays. Safety delayed is safety denied.

We hope and pray that the FAA stays on its original course to mandate fuel tank inerting that will save lives so other families will never have to face the tragedy that mine has had to endure.

The National Air Disaster Alliance/ Foundation is a non-profit grass roots aviation advocacy group comprised of family members, survivors, and industry professionals to promote safety, security, survivability and support for those affected by aviation disasters. NADA/F is a charter member of the FAA Aviation Rule Making Advisory Committee and appointed to Aviation Rule Making Committees.

Matthew Ziemkiewicz,


National Air Disaster Alliance/ Foundation
TWA Flight 800 Family Member