FAA Proposes Cabin-Standards Relief For Part 25 Operators

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Those using Part 25 of the FAA's rules -- generally private operators of large transport category aircraft -- may get some relief from existing and often problematic regulations concerning how their cabins are laid out and equipped. If it happens, it would be courtesy of new regulatory changes the agency proposed last week. The FAA says its proposed rule would create new standards in lieu of the specific requirements affecting transport category airplanes operated by air carriers and would "provide alternative criteria for transport category airplanes that are operated for private use while continuing to provide an acceptable level of safety for those operations." Since it is a proposed rule, not a final one, the FAA is asking for comments from the public. Interested parties have until Oct. 11, 2007, to submit their reactions to the proposed rules.

According to the FAA, the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) results from industry requests for "differentiating between the airworthiness requirements related to cabin interior for different types of operation." The new proposal does not address operation, ownership or control of aircraft operated under Part 25, which has been growing in controversy in recent years. Instead, the FAA's NPRM concerns itself with handholds, passenger injury criteria for side-facing seats, flight attendants' direct view of the cabin, passenger information signs, emergency exit locations and markings, interior compartment doors, aisle widths, material flammability compliance, fire detection, cook-tops and fire extinguishers.