Mar 12 2011
Guess whom to blame when you can’t get oxygen in a mid-air decompression emergency in an airplane lavatory?
Citing security concerns, the federal government in secrecy last month ordered every airline in the United States to remove emergency oxygen in every lavatory on all 6,000 domestic commercial aircraft. The FAA said that the action was done proactively because of concerns that a (MUSLIM) terrorist could use the lavatory oxygen to start a fire or ignite a bomb.
MSNBC — (H/T SUSAN K) –Under Air Worthiness Directive 2011-04-09, made public this week, the Federal Aviation Administration directed all airlines to disable the lavatory oxygen generators to “eliminate a potential safety and security vulnerability.”
That means that if there’s a sudden loss of cabin pressure, now only those passengers at their seats will have oxygen flowing to the masks that drop down from the ceiling.
“I’m in shock,” said Kate Hanni, executive director of Flyersrights.org, a nonprofit airline passengers’ rights organization. “We get reports of mid-air decompression events all the time. So now going to the bathroom on a commercial flight can kill you? I’m panicking just thinking about this.”
But under the FAA’s new directive, any passengers who happen to be in the airplane restroom should such an event occur would no longer have immediate access to oxygen.
According to the FAA, the airlines completed disabling the oxygen generators in the lavatories of all 6,000 U.S. aircraft on March 4. The FAA said in a statement released Thursday that it delayed informing the public about this action because it was concerned about keeping travelers “as safe and secure as possible.”
Arthur Alan Wolk, an aviation safety expert and licensed jet pilot, said: “Part of the idea of the oxygen mask dropping from the ceiling during loss of cabin pressure is to keep the occupants of the main cabin alive until an airplane gets down to a breathable altitude. By eliminating the source of oxygen for the unlucky souls in the bathroom, you’ve just killed those people.”