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Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2011 9:05 AM


OST-2005-22298 - Disability in Air Travel - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration Assistive Devices


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions - Bookmarked
By: Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings


RSPA-2004-17664 - Hazardous Material Regulations: Transportation of Compressed Oxygen


Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel

OST-2005-22298

Filed August 31, 2005

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration Assistive Devices

The Department of Transportation proposes to amend its rules implementing the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, 14 CFR Part 382, to provide greater accommodations in air travel for persons with respiratory disabilities. This notice of proposed rulemaking applies to U.S. air carriers and foreign air carriers operating flights in, to and from the U.S. The proposed rule establishes procedures within applicable U.S. and foreign safety rules for the carriage and use of portable respiration-related assistive devices and medical oxygen devices aboard commercial flights by passengers with disabilities.

By: DOT



May 18, 2005

Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation | Word

Carriers are not currently required to provide supplemental medical oxygen to passengers with disabilities during a flight or at the airport per regulations from DOT’s Office of the Secretary of Transportation implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (14 CFR Part 382).  Current rules promulgated by DOT Pipeline and Hazard Materials Safety Administration require that any carrier that provides oxygen to passengers transport hazardous materials safely and adhere to the hazardous materials regulations.  For safety reasons, Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibit passengers from using their own gaseous and liquid oxygen on board an aircraft, unless a passenger provides the oxygen equipment to an air carrier ahead of the flight and the air carrier agrees to examine and test the equipment to assess the integrity of the device and furnish it back to the passenger for the flight.   While DOT is not aware of any air carrier that is willing to accept the safety and liability risks of permitting passengers to carry on and use their personal oxygen delivery systems during commercial flights, many airlines do provide aircraft-approved oxygen to passengers for a fee.

By: Battelle



September 8, 2005

Comments of Martha Denham

By: Martha K. Denham
7816 NW 105 Terrace
Oklahoma City OK 73162


September 8, 2005

Comments of Joan Esposito

By: Joan Esposito
353 Mountain Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081


September 8, 2005

Comments of Alberta Ferrari

By: Alberta M. Ferrari
945 Forest Hill Rd
Apalachin NY 13732


September 8, 2005

Comments of Carolyn Hull

By: Carolyn Hull
4741 Lakeside Circle
West Palm Beach, FL 33417


September 8, 2005

Comments of Mary LeClerc

By: Mary C. LeClerc
304 East Hudson
Pittsburg, KS 66762


September 8, 2005

Comments of Roberta Parker

By: Roberta Parker


September 8, 2005

Comments of Matthew Coder

By: Matthew Coder
4701 Smithers Avenue South
Renton, WA 98055


September 8, 2005

Comments of Barbara Conroy

I NEED OXYGEN 2L/MIN ON GROUND. O2 ON PLANES COST $100 PER LEG IF AVAILABLE. THIS WOULD BE A GREAT BOON TO THE HANDICAPPED.


September 8, 2005

Comments of Barbara Dosin

By: Barbara Dosin
155 Prescott Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506


September 8, 2005

Comments of Nellie Higgins

By: Nellie M. Higgins
Kearney, NE 68847


September 8, 2005

Comments of Elaine Hradil

By: Elaine Hradil
Bernhards Bay, New York 13028


September 9, 2005

Comments of Joann Kaluza

By: Joann C. Kaluza
27423 Norma Drive
Warren, MI 48093


September 8, 2005

Comments of Elizabeth Laurent

By: Elizabeth Laurent
7432 NW 103rd Terrace
Oklahoma City, OK 73162


September 8, 2005

Comments of Clyde Maricle

By: Clyde F. Maricle
11213 Kenney Street
Norwalk, CA 90650


September 8, 2005

Comments of B. Sachau

By: B. Sachau
15 Elm Street
Florham Park, NJ 07932



September 11, 2005

Comments of James Actor

By: James Actor
17769 13th Avenue NW.
Shoreline, WA 98177


September 9, 2005

Comments of Carolyn Andre

By: Carolyn Andre
Oklahoma City, OK 73102


September 10, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 11, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 10, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 11, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 11, 2005

Comments of Dorothy Balko

By: Dorothy Balko
10708 Prov Neap Swan Road
Grand Rapids, OH 43522


September 11, 2005

Comments of L.A. Berg

By: L. A. Berg
1712 20th Avenue
Menominee, MI 49858


September 9, 2005

Comments of Frances Bowman

By: Frances Bowman
601 Shadow Ranch Lane
Roseburg, OR 97470


September 10, 2005

Comments of Thomas Brewer

By: Thomas Brewer
4870 Logan Way
Hubbard, OH 44425


September 11, 2005

Comments of Donald Brown

By: Donald Brown
2050 N. Pantano Road
Apt. 6102
Tucson, AZ 85715


September 11, 2005

Comments of Mary Cook

By: Mary Cook
1719 Hall Avenue
Sharpsville, PA 16150


September 12, 2005

Comments of Leanne Davis

By: Leanne H. Davis
7452 Wynndel Way
Elk Grove, CA 95758


September 10, 2005

Comments of Carol Farmer

By: Carol Farmer
711 Old Canyon Road #154
Fremont, CA 94536


September 11, 2005

Comments of Gwen Griggs

By: Gwen Griggs
P.O. Box 14
Beulah, CO 81023


September 10, 2005

Comments of Barbara Hasenzahl

By: Barbara Hasenzahl
716 Conifer Court
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572


September 11, 2005

Comments of Violet Hecnar

By: Violet Hecnar
E.F.F.O.R.T.S.
487 Kildare Road
Windsor, Ontario N8Y 3G5 Canada


September 11, 2005

Comments of Sally Hines

By: Sally Hines
16344 S.W. Estuary Drive, #104
Beaverton, OR 97006


September 12, 2005

Comments of Carolyn Hodges

By: Carolyn A. Hodges
1980 Glenwood Dr.
Boulder, CO 80304


Septembe 11, 2005

Comments of Mary Jo Hunter

By: Mary Jo Hunter
155 Mae Street
Ukiah, CA 95482


September 10, 2005

Comments of Jay Hwang

By: Jay Hwang
15 Penn Blvd
Scarsdale, NY 10583


September 11, 2005

Comments of Kenneth Jolly

By: Kenneth Jolly
2235 Ford Avenue
Owensboro, KY 42301


September 9, 2005

Comments of Burgess Joyner

By: Burgess Joyner
9721 N. Ivanhoe Rd
Spokane, WA 99218


September 11, 2005

Comments of Frank Lauer

By: Frank Lauer
5810 Amaya Dr., #6-A
La Mesa, CA 91942


September 12, 2005

Comments of JoAnne Link

By: JoeAnne Link
EFFORTS
4703 Hickory Woods Drive
Greensboro, NC 27410


September 10, 2005

Comments of Domenic Marcelli

By: Domenic Marcelli
53 Rambo Avenue
Gibbstown, NJ 08027


September 11, 2005

Comments of Kenneth McLaughlin

By: Kenneth McLaughlin
2623 East 34th Street
Tulsa, OK 74105


September 10, 2005

Comments of The Michaels Group

By: The Michaels Group
Michael Cook
14608 Ballyclarc Dr.
Austin, TX 78717


September 12, 2005

Comments of Tom Murphy

By: Tom Murphy
733 E Sample Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710


September 10, 2005

Comments of Douglas Pittman

By: Douglas Pittman
2805 Wade Hampton Boulevard #17
Taylors, SC 29687


September 11, 2005

Comments of Charles Powell

By: Charles Powell
21372 Green Cove Circle
Huntington Beach, CA 92646


September 10, 2005

Comments of Marva Raines

By: Marva Raines
108 Matterhorn Way
Mt. Charleston
Las Vegas, NV 89124


September 12, 2005

Comments of Kay Russo

By: Kay Russo
4528 56th St. W.
Bradenton, FL 34210


September 9, 2005

Comments of Kenneth Scott

By: Kenneth Scott
8434 Moorcroft Ave
West Hills, CA 91304


September 11, 2005

Comments of Paul Streeter

By: Paul Streeter
7758 Eastlake Terrace, #G
Chicago, IL 60626


September 12, 2005

Comments of Donna Sullivan

By: Donna Sullivan
920 Cedar
P.O. Box 1627
Woodward, OK 73802


September 9, 2005

Comments of Peter Wilson

By: Peter Wilson
7409 Barrister Ct
Spotsylvania, VA 22553



September 13, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 13, 2005

Comments of Mary Lou Burdick

By: Mary Lou Burdick
6609 Sally Lane
Edina, MN 55439


September 13, 2005

Comments of Donald Gimeson

By: Donald N. Gimeson
518 West 16th
Kearney, NE 68845


September 15, 2005

Comments of Mary Craig

By: Mary Craig
408 Washington Drive
Helena, MT 58601


September 14, 2005

Comments of Tara Sheppard

By: Tara Sheppard
15865 Trap Dr.
Laurel, DE 19956


September 14, 2005

Comments of Marcia Smith

By: Marcia Smith
2607 Shattuck Ct. So.
Renton, WA 98055



September 15, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 16, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 16, 2005

Comments of Leora Bentov

By: Leora Bentov
4030 E. Bloomfield Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032


September 16, 2005

Comments of Paola Canal


September 15, 2005

Comments of Judith Carlson

By: Judith Carlson
13956 No. Green Tree
Oro Valley, AZ 95737


September 16, 2005

Comments of Dave


September 16, 2005

Comments of Don

By: Don
Colorardo


September 15, 2005

Comments of Ray Farber

By: Ray Farber
New York, NY 10028


September 15, 2005

Comments of Nancy Hegg

By: Nancy Hegg
P.O. Box 291
60160 E Barlow Trail Rd
Brightwood, OR 97011


September 15, 2005

Comments of Guin Hilmes

By: Guin Hilmes
53246-1 Buffalo Run
Fort Hood, TX 76544


September 16, 2005

Comments of Viola Krebsbach

By: Viola Krebsbach
225 Hilton Ave.
Hempstead, NY 11550


September 15, 2005

Comments of Barbara Lefforge

By: Barbara Lefforge
4224 E. 11th St
Long Beach, CA 90804


September 15, 2005

Comments of Susan Lehr

By: Susan Lehr
4224 E. 11th St
Long Beach, CA 90804


September 16, 2005

Comments of Ellen McCool

By: Ellen McCool
3997 Bear Ridge Place NW
Kennesaw, GA 30144


September 16, 2005

Comments of Jeanine Mcdivitt

By: Jeanine Mcdivitt
16822 Frazho
Roseville, MI 48066


September 16, 2005

Comments of Dorothy Miness

By: Dorothy Miness
31 Old Miller Lane
Guilford, CT 06437


September 16, 2005

Comments of Gail Oliver

By: Gail Oliver
40 Cloud St
Newburgh, NY 12550


September 16, 2005

Comments of Lauren Zack

By: Lauren Zack
11572 Wallingsford Rd.
Los Alamitos, CA 92115


September 16, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 19, 2005

Anonymous Comments


September 19, 2005

Comments of Barbara Cohen

By: Barbara Cohen
360 East 72 Street #C2701
New York, NY 10021


September 17, 2005

Comments of Becki Hansen

By: Becki Hansen
2021 Heidelbury Drive
Winston Salem, NC 27106


September 19, 2005

Comments of Joesph Impellizzeri

By: Joseph Impellizzeri
25 Countryside Drive
Hamlin, NY 14464


September 17, 2005

Comments of Carol Mutchler

By: Carol Mutchler
2236 Flentwood
Sarasota, FL 33598


September 16, 2005

Comments of Mary Nelson

By: Mary Nelson
86 Greenfield Road
Lancaster, VA 22503


September 17, 2005

Comments of Cheryl Picaso

By: Cheryl E. Picaso
403 Thomas Street
Rogers, TX 76569


September 18, 2005

Comments of Carla Podzius

By: Carla Podzius
17 Shep Jones Lane
St. James, NY 11780


September 17, 2005

Comments of Joan Spon

By: Joan Spon
6256 Bona Vista Place
Cincinnati, OH 45213


September 16, 2005

Comments of Chelle Yarbrough

By: Chelle Yarbrough
15842 Portillo Dr.
Corpus Christi, TX 78418



September 19, 2005

Comments of Air Carrier Association of America/Regional Airline Association/National Air Carrier Association/Air Transport Association of America

Considering the enormous technical, operational and cost issues raised by the multiple actions required by the NPRM, along with issues involving the Federal Aviation Administration, it would be a significant burden to require the industry to submit comments by November 7, 2005. Therefore, the Air Carrier Association of America, Air Transport Association, National Air Carrier Association, and the Regional Airline Association ask that the comment period for the NPRM be moved to January 30, 2006.

The Associations understand that comment periods are rarely extended by more than sixty days. An extension of sixty days in this rulemaking would place the comment date in the New Year holiday season. In addition, with multiple other proposed rulemakings and developments that have to be addressed, it is reasonable to extend the comment period until January 30, 2006. The Associations ask that the Department approve this request as soon as possible so that we can focus on the very important issues raised in the NPRM including steps that should be taken to improve access for all passengers.

By: Air Carrier Association of America
Edward Faberman
1776 K St, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Regional Airline Association
Deborah McElroy
2025 M Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036

National Air Carrier Association
Ronald Priddy, President
1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1700
Arlington, VA 22209

Air Transport Association of America, Inc.


September 19, 2005

Results of Meeting with Representatives of the Air Carrier Association of America, Air Transport Association, National Air Carrier Association and Regional Airline Association

The carrier associations expressed concern that the 60 day comment period for the NPRM does not provide sufficient time to fully evaluate the proposed rule and develop constructive comments for the Department’s consideration. The representatives of the carrier associations explained that additional time was needed as there are a number of issues/questions raised in the NPRM that would require the collection of information from various different departments within each carrier. Other reasons mentioned as to why an extension of the current closing date for comments was needed included the time needed to determine the proposed rule’s potential impact on operations performed jointly with code-shares and regional partners as well as the difficulties the airline industry as a whole is facing today.

DOT representatives encouraged carrier associations to file a written request for an extension of the comment period detailing the reasons that they believe the Department should extend the comment period.

The discussion then turned to a request for a clarification as to the Department’s intention with respect to language in the NPRM that covered U.S. and foreign air carriers provide in-flight medical oxygen consistent with applicable TSA, FAA, PHMSA, and foreign government safety regulations. There was also a question raised as to whether the testing that U.S. carriers conduct of ventilators, respirators, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, or certain portable oxygen concentrators (POC) must be consistent only with FAA safety requirements but also with applicable foreign safety regulations.

DOT made clear that the U.S. and foreign air carriers are subject to FAA rules (14 CFR 121.574 and 135.91) when providing medical oxygen on commercial flights in U.S. airspace. Similarly, as proposed, U.S. carriers testing ventilators, respirators, CPAP machines, or POCs must comply only with FAA rules when testing these devices. However, the NPRM does not directly address the issue of whether to follow U.S. or foreign law when carriers are providing medical oxygen on commercial flights outside of U.S. airspace. The NPRM also does not address the issue of what a U.S. carrier should do if a foreign safety regulation precludes a U.S. carrier from permitting passengers to carry the four types of respiratory devices. DOT representative encouraged the carrier associations to submit comments to the docket on these areas.

By: DOT, Blane Workie



September 21, 2005

Comments of Eudora La Londe

By: Eudora La Londe
45 Apalachee St.
Dallas, GA 30132


September 22, 2005

Comments of Robb Boscardin

By: Robb Boscardin
10975 N. 111th Place
Scottsdale, AZ 85259



September 26, 2005

Comments of Edith Lunt

By: Edith Lunt
557 Brighton Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015


September 26, 2005

Comments of Pamela MacKenzie

By: Pamela MacKenzie
4 Livingston Street
PO BOX 469
Honeoye Falls, NY 14472



September 27, 2005

Commments of Mary Kager

By: Mary Kager
323 Greenview Drive
Lancaster, PA 17601


September 27, 2005

Comments of Mary


September 27, 2005

Comments of James Youngman

By: James Youngman
27 Earlwooode Drive
White Plains, NY 10606


September 29, 2005

Comments of Sheri Jacobs

By: Sheri Jacobs
86-73 Winchester Blvd.
Bellerose Manor, NY 11427



October 1, 2005

Comments of James Actor

By: James Actor
17769 13th Ave. N.W.
Shoreline, WA 98177


October 3, 2005

Comments of Barrie Rappaport

By: Barrie Rappaport
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089


OST-2005-22298

October 7, 2005

Comments of Natasha Phillips

By: Natasha Phillips
920 E. 58th Street CLSC 507
Chicago, IL 60637


October 10, 2005

Comments of James Actor

By: James Actor
17769 13th Ave. N.W.
Shoreline, WA 98177


October 6, 2005

Comments of Allegiant Air

By: Gary Clarke, Director of Safety and Security
3301 N. Buffalo Drive, Suite B-9
Las Vegas, NV 89129


October 10, 2005

Comments of James Actor

By: James Actor
17769 13th Ave. N.W.
Shoreline, WA 98177



October 12, 2005

Re: Letter from DOT/Aviation Consumer Protection to Thomas Manley

Your letter of July 14, 2005, to First Lady Laura Bush concerning the use of inflight medical oxygen on commercial airline flights has recently been referred to my office for response. Your letter describes the difficulties that you and your wife have experienced in traveling by air from Wisconsin to the Washington, DC area for her medical treatments, which has become even more difficult because she has recently been diagnosed as requiring the constant use of medical oxygen. I appreciate the opportunity to provide you with background information on the current state of the law with respect to the use of medical oxygen onboard aircraft and to advise you on progress we are making to increase the accessibility of air travel for individuals dependent on medical oxygen.

For safety reasons, FAA rules currently prohibit passengers from using their own oxygen canisters on board an aircraft, unless a passenger provides the oxygen equipment to an air carrier ahead of the flight (e.g., 48 hours ahead of the flight) and the air carrier agrees to examine and test the equipment to assess the integrity of the device and furnish it back to the passenger for the flight. At this time, it appears that no air carrier is willing to accept the safety and liability risks of permitting passengers to carry on and use their personal oxygen delivery systems during commercial flights. However, many airlines do provide aircraftapproved oxygen to passengers for a fee. Such charges are permitted so that carriers can defray the administrative costs incurred in verifying the amount and flow rate of oxygen required by the passenger, purchasing the oxygen, inspecting the oxygen dispensing equipment to ensure that it is operating safely, delivering and installing the equipment in the proper aircraft, and making similar arrangements for all on-line and interline connecting flights throughout the passenger's itinerary.

Although passengers may not use their personal oxygen tanks during the flight itself, the TSA permits passengers using oxygen and ground oxygen suppliers to pass through security at airports, once the oxygen equipment has been appropriately inspected.

However, I think you will be pleased to learn that, because of concerns similar to yours, which have been expressed by other users of medical oxygen about difficulties encountered in air travel, the Department has recently instituted a number of rulemakings intending to alleviate the difficulties encountered by passengers who require the use of inflight oxygen or other respiratory assistive devices while traveling by commercial airline. In that regard, the FAA has recently amended its requirements to permit passengers to carry their personal oxygen concentrator units on board an aircraft so long as PHMSA has deemed the devices to be non-hazardous, FAA has determined them to be safe, and any conditions imposed on the devices' use by the FAA are met. Indeed, on July 12, 2005, the FAA issued a final rule which permits U.S. airlines to allow the use of certain portable oxygen concentrator devices on aircraft subject to certain safety conditions. I have enclosed a copy of that rule for your information. Please note that this is an enabling rule, which means that no airline is required to allow passengers to operate these devices onboard, but rather that they may allow them to be operated once required safety requirements are met. This rule is an important step toward increasing the accessibility of air travel for individuals dependent on medical oxygen.

By: Aviation Consumer Protection Division, Norman Strickman



October 17, 2005

Extension of Comment Period on Proposed Rule

The Department is extending through January 30, 2006, the period for interested persons to submit comments to its proposed rule on medical oxygen and portable respiration assistive devices.

By: Neil Eisner



January 7, 2006

Comments of Olympic Airlines

Olympic fully supports the maintenance of high standards with respect to the transportation and treatment of all passengers with disabilities and complies with all applicable disability regulations, laws and policies of the Hellenic Republic of Greece and the United States. As discussed below, however, Olympic is seriously concerned with the significant costs and technical, logistical and operational burdens that would be imposed upon the carriers by this Notice of Proposed Rule Making.

Counsel: Condon & Forsyth, Andrew Harakas, 212-490-9100, aharakas@condonlaw.com



January 12, 2006

Comments of European Civil Aviation Conference

We entirely support the principle of enabling as many people as possible to have access to air travel. However, we believe that, as currently drafted, the US proposals present significant operational, safety, security and financial concerns.

Unless or until these are resolved to the satisfaction of and in agreement with all the relevant international bodies, this proposal should not be taken any further.

We also believe that for the vast majority of people oxygen supplied by the aircraft mains supply (or on aircraft where no mains oxygen is provided, through carrier owned cylinders) is the most appropriate solution.

By: ECAC, Laszlo Kiss



January 23 2006

Comments of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Advisory Council of the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago

We, the members of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Advisory Council of the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, would like to voice our strong support for the use of portable respiratory assistive devices. By amending the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, as proposed, the DOT will help implement nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in air travel.

As a coalition of patients, physicians, allied health care practitioners, and public health professionals, we believe that all air carriers should allow the use of portable oxygen concentrators, continuous positive airway pressure machines, ventilators, and respirators on board all commercial aircraft. This will alleviate significant barriers to access and affordability for the more than 11 million people living with COPD and allow them to travel without undue burden.

By: COPD Advisory Council of Chicago



January 26, 2006

Comments of Air Line Pilots Association

We concur with the proposed rulemaking with comments. We support making our nation’s air travel system inclusive to passengers with disabilities, so they can travel as well as other passengers, however, the fact is that some aircraft may not be compatible with the devices of the passengers, and in such a case, the passenger should have to adapt their devices to the air carrier, versus the air carrier having to adapt to the passenger. Specifically, we comment regarding the potential lack of electrical power in the cabin. While airline aircraft are designed to have electricity in the cabin, in an emergency it may be necessary to disconnect the cabin electrical supply. Passengers with life support systems requiring electricity thus need to be able to supply their own electricity (using batteries) for such a contingency. They should plan accordingly with due consideration for the duration of their flight, and without violating any regulations regarding the safe carriage of hazardous materials.

We would also comment that there will be a limit to the number of such passengers on any one flight, based on the aircraft’s inherent capacity of medical oxygen. It simply is not possible to carry more than a certain number of passengers needing medical oxygen. The length of the flight may also affect this, since the time required for the flight effects the quantity of oxygen required. This must also have consideration for possible delays affecting the oxygen supply capacity.

By: ALPA, Pierre Huggins


January 25, 2006

Comments of Sun Country Airlines

SCA has always been very proud of its handling of passengers with disabilities and receives numerous compliments each year regarding the sensitivity and professionalism exhibited by our agents and flight crews in accommodating such passengers. The changes to the Rule as proposed go beyond what is reasonable in providing equal access to passengers with disabilities and would place unwarranted hardship on the airline industry.

Counsel: Sun Country, Karen Erazo, 651-681-3950, karen.erazo@suncountry.com



January 30, 2006

Comments of Air France | Word

Air France believes that the Department’s proposed rule presents serious legal and operational issues, and should it become final, it would severely interfere with and negatively impact the existing and well-organized practices and procedures related to the treatment of its passengers.

Moreover, Air France considers that it is unjustified to transfer the responsibility for testing and certifying this type of equipment to air carriers as the manufacturers are certainly better able to perform this important task. Medical oxygen is considered to be hazardous material, and an air carrier does not have the necessary expertise to determine if a ventilator, respirator, continuous positive airway pressure machine or a portable oxygen concentrator could cause interference with the navigation or communication systems of each model of aircraft irrespective of where the aircraft is operated. It is also technically difficult to guarantee the supply of oxygen during the take off and landing phases. Besides, Air France considers that to allow passengers to use their own medical oxygen equipment on board could present serious security risks insofar as the equipment could be altered and toxic gases might be introduced. The air carrier is not in a position to verify that the equipment does not present any security risk.

Air France has been committed to the developing a high level of service to assist and accommodate all passengers with disabilities and wishes to continue developing these policies and practices in a clear regulatory environment, free of conflicts with either international or national law.

Counsel: Air France, Joan Gabel


January 30, 2006

Comments of Air Pacific

Air Pacific objects to the proposal that foreign air carriers would be required to individually test the respiratory assistive devices. Air Pacific proposes that the Department take on the task of testing the devices and provide a centralized list of approved and disapproved devices on the Department’s Consumer Protection website as well as on printed materials available through travel agents.

Providing in-flight oxygen is a very expensive service that carriers should be able to provide for a fee. Whether the Department requires U.S. carriers to provide oxygen without charge is a U.S. domestic issue, however the Department should not in any way be involved in regulating the services for which foreign carriers are permitted to levy additional charges.

Air Pacific believes that a good solution for both carriers and the traveling public would be to require individuals who need oxygen during flight to purchase or rent pre-approved delivery kits from an approved distributor. This will ensure that the medical needs of the passenger are met, while enabling the carrier to provide safe operation of the aircraft at the lowest possible cost to all passengers.

Counsel: Condon & Forsyth, Evelyn Sahr, 202-289-0500


January 31, 2006

Questions and Comments of the Air Transport Association

The Air Transport Association asked a series of questions regarding the regulatory evaluation for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to amend 14 CFR Part 382 to require certain carriers to provide medical oxygen and to permit the use of certain respiratory devices on commercial flights. The questions were posed by two specific individuals, Ms. Vanpelt, employed in the Economics Department of ATA, and Mr. Lundy, employed by a firm hired by ATA to help it understand the regulatory analysis in order for ATA to prepare comments.

1) What year over year growth rate assumptions did you make for different categories for the low-end and high end cost estimates?

There are many growth rates that impact the overall cost growth estimates. The most significant are:

  • Growth in the number of oxygen equipment models - 10 percent annually based on industry input
  • Growth in the costs associated with providing oxygen service - Forecast based on expected growth in the number of Medicare patients as presented at: 2004 Annual Report of the Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds. 2004. Washington, D.C., Table IIA3 - Medicare Enrollment. Medicare enrolment was used as a proxy to forecast growth in the number of medical oxygen patients.
  • Growth in the number of employees receiving training was tied to forecasts of air carrier traffic data - 3.6 percent annually as forecast in the Federal Aviation Administration's FAA Aerospace Forecasts, Fiscal Years 2004-2015, published in March 2004.
  • Average annual employee turnover rate of 10% used based on assumption used in Air Carrier Access Act regulatory evaluation.

2) What discount rates did you use for your cost and benefits estimates?

Battelle used a 7 percent discount rate, per OMB guidance Circular A-94, Guidelines and Discount Rates for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Federal Programs.

By: DOT, Ann Gawalt


January 30, 2006

Comments of Aloha Airlines

The adoption of this proposal in its current form will inflict a significant and unacceptable financial burden on Aloha Airlines. Additionally, the adoption of this proposal will mean an increase in risk to our ETOPS operations in the form of possible expensive diversions or reduction in payload capability.

As stated, Aloha Airlines fully supports the statements of the Air Transport Association as our position on this important topic.

By: Aloha Airlines, Ray Brice, 808-836-5297


January 30, 2006

Comments of Alpha-1 Association and Alpha-1 Foundation | Word - Corrected Copy

These comments are submitted on behalf of the Alpha-1 Foundation and Alpha-1 Association who represent individuals with the genetic lung and liver disease known as Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.  There may be up to 100,000 people with Alpha-1 in the United States making it the most common genetic risk factor for emphysema.  Alpha-1 is a condition that is passed on from parents to their children through genes resulting in serious lung and/or liver disease at various ages in life that often requires the use of part or full-time supplemental oxygen.  As many as 3% of all people diagnosed with COPD may have Alpha-1.

The Regulatory Evaluation for Medical Oxygen Use Onboard Aircraft, Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Transportation dated May 18, 2005 accurately depicts the current regulatory environment that presents barriers to travel by individuals with Alpha-1.  We will not restate these challenges as we believe that they are well understood by the agency and addressed in this attempt to close the gap in current regulations.

Because supplement oxygen for air travel is vitally important to the patient community we serve, both organizations strongly support the intent of the NPRM to extend the definition of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 to provide greater accommodation in air travel for persons with respiratory disabilities.  While our organizations lack expertise in many of the technical areas where DOT has requested comments, we have provided recommendations with the objective of clarifying the NPRM from the patient perspective and encouraging expedition of final guidance which is meaningful to individuals who require supplemental oxygen and other assistive respiratory devices during air travel.

By: Alpha-1 Association, Miriam O'Day


January 30, 2006

Comments of the American Thoracic Society

Thoughtful implementation of this proposed rule will make dramatic improvements in the ease and convenience of patients who need medical oxygen and other respiratory assistive devices to use air travel.

In general, we strongly support the spirit and intent of the proposed rule. While several implementation issues need to be addressed, we are very encouraged to read the following text in the proposed rule:
The intent of section 382.133 as proposed is to create a system where on the day of flight a passenger with a disability can carry his or her approved respiration device, such as a portable oxygen concentrator, from his or her home to the airport, through check-in, to the gate, and then on to the aircraft for use during the flight.

We strongly agree with the intent of the proposed rule and encourage the Department of Transportation to swiftly develop a final rule that fulfills that intent.

By: ATS


January 27, 2006

Comments of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines

The AAPA submits that the DOT should carefully reconsider the merits and approach of this rulemaking, failing which we do not believe it should be progressed in its current form.

In particular, there is a need for an international approach to ensure regulatory harmonization to avoid conflicting regulations and potential confusion amongst passengers. The approach of this NPRM presents significant operational and legal obstacles for international carriers which are required to comply with a multiplicity of national and international regulations.

Notwithstanding the issues raised in this submission, the AAPA and its member airlines are committed to treating all passengers with dignity and respect in a nondiscriminatory manner, and to enabling as many people as possible to have access to air travel, consistent with safety requirements. We will continue to work towards this shared goal through international cooperation with the aim of developing a more harmonized approach to customer service standards in this and other areas.

By: AAPA, Andrew Herdman, 60-3-2145-5600


January 30, 2006

Comments of ATA Airlines

ATA Airlines submits that compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act and the provision of services to disabled passengers can reasonably be achieved by permitting the use of passenger-owned portable, electronic respiratory assistive devices. ATA Airlines currently permits the use of such devices provided they have an independent energy source (i.e. are battery operated). ATA Airlines further submits that requiring airlines that do not currently provide medical oxygen onboard their flights (because they are not licensed to transport hazardous material) to provide such service, is an undue burden, overreaching and cost prohibitive.

Counsel: ATA, Brian Hunt


January 30, 2006

Comments of Aviation Mobility | Word

Although classified as a dangerous good by IATA, ICAO and the FAA, compressed oxygen has been transported and utilized safely with the utmost care and consideration for many years.  This classification has resulted in rugged, durable packaging standards designed specifically for its transport.  Oversight of testing, inspecting and shipping is rigorous and demanding (for example FAR 121.574 requires equipment to have been under the certificate holder’s approved maintenance program since its purchase).  The result for the traveling public is a long history of safe transport and dependable use.  Medical Oxygen, USP, has been and continues to be the one method of delivery usable for the wide spectrum of oxygen dependant individuals -- everyone from pediatric passengers utilizing very low liter-flow settings to severe COPD cases requiring very high (6 or 8) LPM.   If DOT implements section 382.135, we believe this product and delivery method is most consistent with the intent of creating greater access to air travel for all persons who use medical oxygen.

Counsel: McCarthy Sweetney, Lawrence Bierlein, 202-775-5574


January 30, 2006

Comments of British Airways

British Airways respects and shares the Department's goal of making commercial air transportation more accessible for persons with respiratory disabilities. The proposed regulation as drafted, however, is a misguided effort that, if implemented, would created unacceptable safety and security risks. The burden of testing and certification of respiratory assistive devices should be borne by the manufacturers of aircraft and medical devices working with the FAA, not air carriers. If the Department sees fit to require all foreign air carriers operating aircraft to and from the U.S. to provide oxygen to those passengers who need it, those carriers must be allowed to continue to charge a reasonable fee for such service. Finally, the Department must cooperate with the efforts of the European Union to design consistent, comprehensive standard for treatments of disabled passengers and avoid overlapping regulations between jurisdictions.

Counsel: British Airways, Paul Jasinski, 347-418-4250, paul.jasinski@britishairways.com


January 30, 2006

Comments of Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific is committed to making its aircraft and services accessible to the greatest possible number of travelers. It hopes that the Department, before modifying its long-standing position on medical oxygen and adding rules concerning new respiratory devices, will work constructively with foreign governments and airlines to harmonize their interests with those of passengers with disabilities.

Counsel: DLA Piper Rudnick, John Mietus, 202-861-6466, john.mietus@dlapiper.com


January 30, 2006

Comments of Delta Air Lines on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Revising 14 CFR Part 382

Delta is and has always been a strong advocate for making air travel more accessible and convenient for passengers with a disability. Accordingly, Delta raises these issues, not to stand in the way of any initiatives designed to improve air travel for passengers with a disability, but because these issues present real concerns to Delta in its drive to remain a viable airline providing the best service possible to its customers. Delta intends to continue its leadership role in improving air travel for those with a disability even though it may be to Delta's disadvantage in the current marketplace. Delta simply asks that the DOT assist Delta in achieving this laudable goal.

Counsel: Delta and Hogan & Hartson, Robert Cohn, 202-637-4999


January 30, 2006

Comments of First Choice Airways

First Choice Airways objects to the attempt by the US Department of Transportation to impose its requirements for medical oxygen on foreign carriers, even where there is not a direct conflict with foreign law. Such imposition of US rules on foreign carriers when they are operating outside the U.S. and/or carrying primarily non‑U.S. citizens is extra‑territorial and unreasonable. In the case of First Choice Airways, we are regulated by UK and European rules and subject to the safety oversight by the UK or European civil aviation institutions. As a UK charter air carrier, most of our passengers are UK citizens, originating in the UK, and hence imposing the proposed rules on our operations would be unduly burdensome as well as impermissible and contrary to accepted principles of sovereignty. As the European Civil Aviation Conference has pointed out, the proposed rule is especially "inappropriate because of the forthcoming introduction of European law which will address the rights of disabled passengers and because of potential conflicts with national and European practices on safety and security."

Counsel: First Choice, Eddie Redfern, eddie. redfern@firstchoice.co.uk


January 23 2006

Comments of Government of the United Kingdom

We entirely support the principle of enabling as many people as possible to have access to air travel. However, we believe that, as currently drafted, the US proposals present significant operational, safety, security and financial concerns.

Unless or until these are resolved to the satisfaction of and in agreement with all the relevant international bodies, this proposal should not be taken any further.

We also believe that for the vast majority of people oxygen supplied by the aircraft mains supply (or on aircraft where no mains oxygen is provided, through carrier owned cylinders) is the most appropriate solution.

We would be pleased to enter into discussions with the US authorities to help to find workable solutions which can be applied at international level.

By: Karen Buck


January 30, 2006

Comments of The International Air Transport Association - Bookmarked

IATA once again urges the Department to reconsider its approach to its entire Part 382 revision process, including this rulemaking. IATA asks the Department to act in accordance with its Congressional mandate, to take into consideration the demands of international law and comity and to retreat from the ill-advised extraterritorial approach that has put it at odds with other sovereigns. IATA also urges the Department to consider carefully the financial burdens it is proposing to impose on an already beleaguered industry. The record on which the Department relies in this NPRM is faulty, and has led to a proposal that does not achieve the reasonable balance required and that indeed would impose an undue financial burden on the industry. For these reasons, IATA submits that rather than the path it has chosen, the Department, the industry and users of medical oxygen would be better served if the Department makes the choices and adopts the approaches suggested herein.

Counsel: IATA, Douglas Lavin, 202-293-9292


January 30, 2006

Comments of Inogen

Inogen believes that oxygen dependent passengers should have equal access to air travel without unreasonable restriction based on their disability. We hold that air carriers should be required to allow passengers requiring supplemental oxygen onboad commercial flight. Given the recent adoption and rapid market acceptance of POCs, it is likely that 3 different types of participation in the provision of oxygen supply to traveling passengers may co-exist: 1) airlines which do not operate an oxygen program but allow the use of POCs onboard their aircraft; 2) airlines who operate an oxygen program and allow POCs onboard their aircraft; and 3) airlines that only operate an oxygen program. All effectively provide the needed access to eliminate the potential for discrimination.

Inogen hold that providing passenger access to oxygen addresses any issues related to discrimination. And while airlines should be required to allow passengers access, we do not believe these costs should be borne by the air transportation sector. However, in keeping with equal access provisions we feel that airlines should not be allowed to charge passengers for services associated with oxygen that they do not supply, including excess baggage fees, inspection fees, phone coordination / advance notification fees, etc.

By: Inogen, Joe Lewarski


January 30, 2006

Comments of Japan Airlnes International

There are four U.S. agencies that would seem to be interested or involved in the general subject of oxygen devices aboard aircraft: FAA, PHMSA and TSA, in addition to DOT. While it is not for us to say how DOT should interact with sister agencies, we have some doubt as to whether the views of the concerned agencies are consistent on the general subject; in fact, they could be moving at cross-purposes. Since JAL believes that disability rules, including oxygenrelated rules, should be subject to uniform international standards under the auspices of ICAO, the U.S. will have to formulate a unified U.S. position to present to that international body. What will be required is a unified U.S. government approach that, first and foremost, takes into account the safety and security of all passengers, but also balances special needs of disabled persons, efficiency of airline operations and the views of foreign airlines' governments. Until a unified U.S. policy is established (whether for ICAO purposes or not), JAL believes that the Oxygen NPRM should be withdrawn.

JAL already provides medical oxygen service to disabled passengers on its flights. JAL believes that decisions regarding how that service is provided, and whether and how JAL permits passengers to bring their own respiratory assistive devices onboard its flights, are properly made by JAL, consistent with applicable requirements of the Japanese government. It is the Japanese government, after all, that has primary governmental responsibility over matters --such as the carriage of oxygen and oxygen-related devices -- that could pose safety and security risks to passengers on Japanese-registered aircraft operated by Japanese carriers. As always, JAL will continue to provide a high level of service to all of its passengers, including its disabled passengers.

Counsel: Steptoe & Johnson, William Karas, 202-429-6223


January 30, 2006

Comments of JetBlue Airways

Although JetBlue Airways Corporation is committed to providing equal access to passengers with disabilities and applauds the efforts of the Department of Transportation in this regard, JetBlue incorporates herein the comments of the Air Transport Association, of which JetBlue is a member. JetBlue respectfully submits that the NPRM, as currently written, places an undue burden on carriers, and may produce unintended safety consequences. Although the extensive comments by the AT A more than adequately address JetBlue's concerns, because JetBlue is not a certified hazardous material carrier and does not currently offer oxygen for passenger use (except in the case of an emergency), the undue burden this NPRM places on JetBlue, a low-fare carrier, is even more acute.

Counsel: JetBlue, Joanna Geraghty


January 30, 2006

Comments of Martinair Holland

Martinair wishes to emphasize that, as a European Union carrier, it offers services for disabled passengers as required by national and European Union regulations, which meet the ICAO SARPs and are similar, but not identical, to those proposed in this NPRM. Martinair does not support the approach proposed by the DOT that the foreign carrier identifies these differences, as this approach infringes on the national authority of sovereign countries. Rather, Martinair proposes that the DOT, together with the European Union and ICAO, initiates steps to harmonise safety aspects associated with air transport of disabled passengers.

By: Martinair


January 30, 2006

Comments of MedAire

Policies regarding respiratory devices and their successful use in a pressurized aircraft cabin must include a careful understanding of the users’ underlying chronic medical conditions and consideration for the potential risks to the passenger and their devices. Failure to consider these issues will lead to an increase in in-flight medical emergencies and even deaths, and ultimately more in-flight medical diversions. These considerations are especially crucial in light of certain aircraft emergencies, such as cabin decompression, where the risk to these passengers would be much greater. Any situation that distracts the crew from safety-related duties increases risk. In the event that a diversion is necessary, all passengers are at additional risk.

By: MedAire, Heidi Giles, 480-333-3700, hgiles@medaire.com


January 30, 2006

Comments of the National Air Carrier Association

NACA agrees with the Regional Airline Association's opposition to the DOT's proposal to apply the NPRM to all U.S. carriers and foreign airlines that conduct passenger-carrying service, other than those carriers that are operating as on-demand air taxis without regard to aircraft size. We concur with RAA's assessment that instead, DOT should limit coverage of this section to air carriers operating aircraft with 60 or more seats. The 60-seat threshold is a well-established regulatory standard, and DOT, for legitimate reasons, has determined that this is the appropriate aircraft size for imposition of many customer service and financial requirements.

In short, the solutions proposed by the Department in this NPRM will come at considerable cost to the air carriers from a logistical and economic perspective. We strongly urge the Department to adopt the above recommendations to permit the RTCA, aircraft manufacturers, portable oxygen device manufacturers, and the FAA to develop the standards necessary for these entities to properly test and approve these devices for use onboard domestic and foreign commercial aircraft. Passengers should have the ability to use their personal oxygen devices in a safe and comfortable traveling environment.

NACA endorses the comments and recommendations of the Air Carrier Association of America, the Air Transport Association of America, and the Regional Airline Association where they do not directly conflict with the NACA comments and recommendations herein.

By: NACA, Ronald Priddy, 703-358-8060


January 30, 2006

Comments of Northwest Airlines - Bookmarked

Northwest commends the Department for its attempt to increase access to air travel for passengers with respiratory ailments, passengers that Northwest has been working with and serving since the 1970s. The Department, however, lacks the authority to implement the proposal because it is both beyond the scope and intent of the ACAA and imposes undue financial and administrative burdens on air carriers. The NPRM’s costs to carriers will severely outweigh the benefits to passengers, and may result in increased costs for the traveling public as a whole. Further, with the NPRM, the Department has passed up the chance to legitimately assist passengers who require medical oxygen. Northwest suggests that the Department strongly consider ATA’s proposal to allow passengers to use their own POCs and set standards for testing and labeling for respiratory device manufacturers. The Department should use this opportunity to have a genuine impact on passengers with respiratory needs.

Counsel: Northwest, Stanley Sandiford


January 30, 2006

Comments of The Paralyzed Veterans of America

PVA first of all congratulates the Department for taking action on this issue. The cost of using carrier supplied oxygen has been prohibitive for our members and thousands of others with respiratory disabilities, and greatly limited travel opportunities. This proposed regulation is a major step in resolving this problem for oxygen users. These comments will address the issues in the order in which they are raised in the NPRM.

PVA appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed regulation and urges the Department to expedite issuance of the final regulations and allow the FAA's determinations to take full effect.

Counsel: PVA, Robert Herman, 202-416-7699, bobhn@pva.org


January 30, 2006

Comments of Qantas Airways

Qantas is committed to the carriage of passengers with a disability in a safe, nondiscriminatory manner with dignity and full rights as passengers. Qantas considers that Australia's well-established and comprehensive anti-discrimination laws should be recognized by the US DOT as equivalent in their provision of similar levels of protection for people with disabilities (including people who require the assistance of medical oxygen and/or portable respiratory assistive devices as a result of their disability).

Nonetheless, even if Australia's legislative regime is not accepted by the US DOT as providing equivalent protection for people with disabilities, Qantas believes that all carriers should be able to charge for services provided, especially where the provision of the service is a significant and direct cost to the airline, such as in the provision of medical oxygen.

In addition, whilst Qantas is keen to support any process of ensuring the safe carriage of medical oxygen and respiratory devices, it is not reasonable to place the burden of the testing and evaluation process upon the carrier. Manufacturers of respiratory devices and manufacturers of aircraft are best placed to jointly investigate and determine the safest method of carriage for all types of respiratory devices on all types of passenger aircraft.

Assistance from passengers who travel with medical oxygen and/or respiratory assistive devices in the form of advance notice to carriers, as well as the carriage of sufficient battery life by the passengers for their assistive devices, will enable carriers to effectively prepare for a passenger's travel.

If an approach of assistance and cooperation is adopted by all relevant parties, the carriage of passengers who require medical oxygen and/or respiratory assistive devices can be accommodated by airlines safely, effectively and cost efficiently.

Counsel: Condon & Forsyth, Thomas Whalen, 202-289-0500


January 30, 2006

Comments of the Regional Airline Association

RAA disputes the total annual benefits of the proposed rule (discounted to present value), ranging from $40.2 million to $100.6 million as stated in the Regulatory Analysis and Notices section. After review of the information provided by The Campbell-Hill Aviation Group, Inc. to ATA, it is apparent that DOT's contractor made numerous errors in determining the economic benefits of the proposal, including misrepresenting the baseline passenger data, miscalculating the potential profit benefits to airlines, and not adjusting the study to exclude the portion of medical oxygen users who are not business travelers. As the regulatory evaluation makes such gross errors in calculating benefits, DOT cannot reasonably determine that the benefits justify the costs the proposal would impose. In fact, if DOT were to consider the corrected data, RAA believes the benefits/cost ratio is less than one, meaning DOT cannot proceed with the proposed regulatory change. Accordingly, RAA requests that DOT withdraw the NPRM.

By: RAA, Deborah McElroy, 202-637-1170, mcelroy@raa.org


January 30, 2006

Comments of Saudi Arabian Airlines

Saudia objects to the proposal that airlines will be required to individually test the respiratory devices inasmuch as testing would be costly to the carriers. Saudia proposes that all testing be undertaken by the manufacturers and certified by the manufacturers as to (1) the type of aircraft on which the individual device can be used; and (2) the particular phases of the flight on which the device can be used. Certification of the devices for use on-board an aircraft provides a marketing advantage for the manufacturers, who could recoup the expense of testing by raising prices for the added “feature” of the device (i.e., the certification for on-board use), as well as expanded sales of the device.

Saudia agrees to provide passengers with portable respiratory devices with the information necessary so that they can have a positive travel experience. However, Saudia foresees that problems may arise in connection with maintaining an accurate centralized list of approved and disapproved devices if the carriers are required to maintain the testing status of interline and codeshare carriers. In addition, Saudia predicts that developing and implementing a policy for handling new models of devices will be time consuming and expensive.

Saudia currently provides oxygen to passengers free of charge. However, Saudia believes that allowing a passenger to rent pre-approved oxygen delivery kits from approved vendor is an alternative that the Department should consider.

Counsel: Condon & Forsyth, Evelyn Sahr, 202-289-0500


January 30, 2006

Comments of Southwest Airlines

Clearly, the NPRM constitutes an undue burden on the airline industry, which for all the substantive and procedural legal objections asserted in the ATA comments, the Department may not lawfully impose. The NPRM must therefore be withdrawn. Alternatively, however. Southwest would support amendment of the Proposed Rule, as proposed by the AlA, to give air carriers the option either to provide medical oxygen at cost or permit passengers to use personal approved portable electronic respiration devices during flight. This proposed alternative would advance the Department's public policy objective of increasing accessibility of air travel to persons with respiratory disabilities, while avoiding imposition of an unwarranted and illegal economic and operational burden on an industry experiencing widespread bankruptcies and struggling just to break even.

Counsel: Southwest, Richard Ketler, 214-792-6142


January 30, 2006

Comments of Thomsonfly

Having had the chance to review and digest the NPRM, Thomsonfly urges the Department to withdraw the proposed law as we believe the proposals are currently threatening flight safety, will raise serious security concerns and will pose significant operational and financial concerns as well as being illegal on the ground of extra-territoriality.

Thomsonfly remains committed to ensuring the transport of disabled passengers but believes the proposed rule is unworkable, unsafe, and dangerous and place overly onerous requirements on the aviation industry. Thomsonfly believes it should be withdrawn until the concerns highlighted above have been addressed and rectified in dialogue with the Aviation industry.

By: Thomsonfly, Danielle Chapman


January 30, 2006

Comments of US Airways | Word

US Airways contributed to and wholly supports the comments of the Air Transport Association filed today in this docket.  In addition, US Airways files these individual comments to further amplify the significant burden on US Airways that would result from the Department’s proposal to require airlines to provide a free-of-charge medical oxygen service.  None of the US Airways Group carriers transports hazardous materials.  As a result, starting a medical oxygen program would require US Airways to pay for infrastructure development, staff training, and product deployment, as well as the day-to-day costs of providing the service itself.

The Department should reconsider its proposed rule on this issue in light of the burden it would impose on carriers like US Airways that do not transport hazardous materials.  As noted above, US Airways offers an alternative method of accommodating those passengers that require in-flight oxygen.

Counsel: US Airways, Howard Kass, 703-872-5230, howard_kass@usairways.com


January 30, 2006

Comments of WestJet

WestJet is not opposed to the concept that society as a whole should subsidize the costs of providing free medical oxygen to individuals who require that service. WestJet is opposed to singling out air carriers in that regard. To the best of WestJet' s knowledge, the U.S. Government does not require railroads, cruise lines, commercial bus lines nor rental car companies to provide free medical oxygen upon demand. Going beyond transportation, WestJet queries whether other U.S. entities such as department and grocery stores, public and private universities and other schools, movie theaters and public and private offices are required to provide medical oxygen free of charge. For example, do the Department of Transportation and other U.S. Government offices provide free medical oxygen to employees and visitors having business at DOT and other government facilities? If the answer to any of these questions is no, WestJet respectfully submits that the NPRM fails to demonstrate why air transportation is so intrinsically different from every other facet of life so as to require such disparate treatment in this regard.

Counsel: Garofalo Goerlich, Don Hainbach, 202-776-3970



January 31, 2006

Comments of the Air Carrier Association of America

ACAA supports the Department's objective to maximize travel opportunities for the disabled community and to take steps to make travel easier and safer for all passengers. The ACAA member airlines support these efforts and are prepared to continue to work with all government agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department, along with representatives of the disabled community to further improve travel options. The ACAA has been working with the Department on these issues, attending numerous meetings to discuss areas of concern, and is committed to continuing this effort.

It is essential, however, to understand that this rulemaking could have a significant economic and operational impact on the airline industry just as it struggles to return to profitability after years of record-breaking losses. The effects could be even greater on airlines that choose not to provide in-flight medical oxygen due to the high cost associated with the provision of this service. This rulemaking also presents enormous economic and operational issues that could negatively impact the overall objective to enhance travel by members of the disabled community. It is essential that these issues be fully addressed before this rule becomes final and before systems are made available to customers.

Since the Department's proposal could significantly increase costs for all carriers, it is essential that the Department issue a "Supplemental Notice" to further review all of these complex issues. We also ask the Department to permit the RTCA and the FAA to develop the standards necessary for the proper testing and approval of these devices for use onboard domestic and foreign commercial aircraft. Passengers should have the ability to use their personal oxygen devices in a safe and comfortable traveling environment. At the same time, all passengers and crew members should be able to travel comfortably and safely.

Counsel: ACAA, Edward Faberman, 202-719-7420, epfaberman@acaa1.com


January 31, 2006

Comments of the Air Transport Association - Bookmarked

The proposed rule seeks to impose on airlines onerous and potentially extensive testing requirements for passenger-owned, portable electronic respiration assistive devices. The proposed rule also seeks to change existing law by requiring passenger-carrying airlines, including those airlines that have lawfully elected not to provide medical oxygen, to provide medical oxygen service to passengers free of charge—even though airlines that provide medical oxygen now on a voluntary basis do not recoup their costs. For the legal, policy, safety, and operational reasons set forth in these comments, the Department’s proposal exceeds its authority and is over-reaching and unjustified. Accordingly, the proposed rule is unlawful under the Air Carrier Access Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. In lieu of this unlawful proposed rule, we make several recommendations that achieve the NPRM’s goals in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner that is consistent with the law.

Counsel: Air Transport Association, Sophy Chen



January 23, 2006

Comments of United Kingdom Department for Transport

We entirely support the principle of enabling as many people as possible to have access to air travel. However, we believe that, as currently drafted, the US proposals present significant operational, safety, security and financial concerns.

Unless or until these are resolved to the satisfaction of and in agreement with all the relevant international bodies, this proposal should not be taken any further.

We also believe that for the vast majority of people oxygen supplied by the aircraft mains supply (or on aircraft where no mains oxygen is provided, through carrier owned cylinders) is the most appropriate solution.

By: Karen Buck



March 10, 2006

Comments of American Airlines

American Airlines desires to bring to the Department's attention the fact that it will soon permit the use of portable oxygen concentrators on its flights, as it believes the decisions of it and other carriers to allow the use of such devices should be considered by the Department's rulemaking analysis.

American worked closely with the Air Transport Association and its member carriers in formulating the comments filed by the ATA. American fully supports the ATA's comments, observations, and analyses, and urges the Department to carefully consider the ATA's comments, as they represent the considered and collective view of the majority of the United States passenger carriers.

Counsel: American, Alec Bramlett, 817-931-4358, Alec.Bramlett@aa.com



March 21, 2006

Ex-Parte Letter to Jim Oberstar

As you may be aware, the Department extended the comment period for interested persons to submit comments on the NPRM to January 30, 2006. We believe that this extension has resulted in more thorough comments to the docket than might otherwise be possible without delaying final action in the rulemaking. DOT has begun the process of reviewing and evaluating more than 1,800 comments received on this issue.

I want to assure you that the Department is strongly committed to protecting the civil rights of airline passengers with disabilities and ensuring that the US. transportation system in the 21stcentury is inclusive in service.

By: Norman Mineta



September 12, 2006

Meeting with Staff of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

At the beginning of the meeting Committee staff asked when the final rule would be issued and requested an explanation regarding the content of the NPRM. Committee staff indicated some confusion among constituent groups with whom it had recently met as to whether the NPRM proposes to require carriers provide in-flight medical oxygen free of charge. DOT officials indicated that the Department hoped to issue the final rule in spring or summer of 2007. They noted that the Department received nearly 1900 comments on the NPRM and only recently secured adequate funding for a Regulatory Evaluation to accompany the final rule.

DOT officials then explained the proposed rule in two parts. The first part proposes to require carriers to test four types of electronic respiratory devices (including FAA approved portable oxygen concentrators) and permit passengers to use these devices during flight if safe. DOT officials explained that the Department has received a number of comments suggesting that the burden of testing these electronic respiratory devices should be placed on the manufacturers of the devices rather than on the carriers. These comments as well as other comments on the rulemaking are being reviewed and considered.

DOT officials then explained the second part of the rule which proposes to require carriers to provide in-flight medical oxygen free of charge. There was also discussion of recent FAA rulemakings permitting carriers to allow passengers to carry on and use five types of POCs onboard aircraft if the safety-related conditions on the devices are met.

Committee staff inquired as to the reason the Department proposes to require carriers to provide oxygen when a rulemaking that has been issued by the FAA already allows passengers to bring and use their own POC on board the aircraft. DOT officials explained that the FAA rulemaking is permissive but does not require carriers to allow passengers to use FAA approved POCs onboard aircraft. The NPRM by the Office of the Secretary proposes to require airlines to provide in-flight medical oxygen without charge, to test certain respiratory assistive devices and permit their use if safe. DOT officials also noted that the Department included the proposal to require carriers to provide oxygen rather than simply proposing for carriers to allow the use of POCs if safe because many passengers may not own an FAA approved oxygen device, and because it may be cost prohibitive for persons needing oxygen to rent or purchase one of the devices that is FAA approved.

DOT representatives emphasized that comments were still being reviewed and analyzed and that no decisions had been made regarding a final rule.

By: Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, Casey Symington



September 13, 2006

Re: Meeting with Canadian Transportation Agency

CTA indicated that it currently has pending in its office a number of complaints against two of its domestic air carriers regarding this matter. CTA staff persons stated that the agency has already determined that individuals who require the use of medical oxygen are disabled. Furthermore, CTA also determined that an obstacle exists for passengers who use medical oxygen because passengers are neither allowed to bring their own medical oxygen devices nor are carriers required to provide medical oxygen to passengers who request it. However, CTA has not determined whether the aforementioned obstacles are undue.

By: Casey Symington, Office of Aviation Enforcement



March 28, 2007

Re: Additional Comments of The Air Transport Association of America

Submits these supplemental comments on the medical oxygen rule proposed by DOT because significant rulemaking relating to the transport of oxygen recently was promulgated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration As discussed below, this final rule directly affects the proposed rule in this docket. In addition, PHMSA recently reported that additional rulemaking relating to the transportation of lithium batteries, a primary power source for many portable medical oxygen devices, is imminent. Regulatory changes impacting passenger airlines' ability to transport items containing oxygen and lithium batteries in the cargo hold of aircraft have direct and substantial impact on the NPRM.

On December 15, 2006, a battery powered personal air filter device "Fresh Air Buddy" worn around a passenger's neck burst into flames during flight, injuring the passenger and requiring the aircraft to divert from its scheduled route to make an emergency landing. Dozens of passengers were treated for smoke inhalation and complaints related to the Halon fumes used to suppress the fire. Several passengers were hospitalized; two seats on the aircraft had holes burned in them and had to be replaced. The exact cause of the fire remains unknown; the respiratory device contained a battery. Over the past several years, PHMSA has received a number of incident reports involving overheated batteries on aircraft and is working with FAA and the NTSB to address these issues to minimize the risk of onboard fires caused by small consumer electronic devices and their batteries. The presence of oxygen in the aircraft cabin or cargo hold significantly increases the risk of a catastrophic event; until battery risks are appropriately addressed, a further relaxing of rules relating to oxygen is contraindicated.

Counsel: ATA, David Berg



OST-2004-19482 - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
OST-2005-22298 - Disability in Air Travel - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration
OST-2006-23999 - Accommodations for Individuals who are Deaf, Hard of hearing or Deaf-Blind

April 28, 2008

Final Rule (Original) - Bookmarked - 12MB

The Department of Transportation is amending its Air Carrier Access Act rules to apply to foreign carriers. The final rule also adds new provisions concerning passengers who use medical oxygen and passengers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The rule also reorganizes and updates the entire ACAA rule. The Department will respond to some matters raised in this rulemaking by issuing a subsequent supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

By: Mary Peters


OST-2004-19482 - Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
OST-2005-22298 - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration Assistive Devices
OST-2006-23999 - Accommodations for Individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-Blind

February 25, 2008

Regulatory Evaluation - 95 Pages

The purpose of this Regulatory Evaluation is to assess the rule's potential costs and benefits, as required by Executive Order 12866. Benefits to the disability community, which are the rule's chief purpose, are not readily quantified but are described in qualitative terms. Although the economic benefit to affected airlines of additional ticket revenue is offset by the tickets' cost to passengers, insofar as this revenue exceeds the cost to airlines, we can be assured that the rule provides net social benefits, since travel also provides consumer surplus to the passengers.

By: DOT



OST-2004-19482 - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
OST-2005-22298 - Disability in Air Travel - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration
OST-2006-23999 - Accommodations for Individuals who are Deaf, Hard of hearing or Deaf-Blind

April 29, 2008

Executive Order 12866

By: Robert Ashby



OST-2004-19482 - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
OST-2005-22298 - Disability in Air Travel - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration
OST-2006-23999 - Accommodations for Individuals who are Deaf, Hard of hearing or Deaf-Blind

On File at Federal Register March 17, 2009

Final Rule - Correction

As Published in Federal Register March 18, 2009

The Department of Transportation published the new Air Carrier Access Act rule in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (73 FR 27614). This document corrects editorial errors or omissions and clarifies ambiguities in the preamble, rule text and appendix of the final rule.

By: Rosalind Knapp



January 20, 2010

Re: Comments of COPD Foundation

Because the Department of Transportation requires that US carriers allow passengers to use portable oxygen concentrators approved by the FAA during all phases of a flight - including taxiing, takeoff and landing - if the unit displays a manufacturer's label that indicates it meets FAA requirements for portable medical electronic devices, is properly stowed, and meets certain other applicable safety-related conditions the actions of American Airlines appear in violation. If a carrier refuses to allow in-flight use of an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator that complies with FAA requirements, there should be strong punitive action that the FAA and DOT are willing to take. The Department has stated that approved POC's pose no safety danger so long as carriage of the device is in accordance with instructions provided by the FAA We request a response from the DOT regarding this incident and suggest that it may be possible that additional guidance needs to be offered to air carriers if it is found that American Airlines is not in violation of Federal policy in this regard.

By: COPD Foundation, John Walsh



OST-2004-19482 - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
OST-2005-22298 - Disability in Air Travel - Medical Oxygen and Portable Respiration
OST-2006-23999 - Accommodations for Individuals who are Deaf, Hard of hearing or Deaf-Blind

Issued July 21, 2010 | On File at Federal Register July 29, 2010

Correcting Amendments

The Department of Transportation published its amended Air Carrier Access Act rule in the Federal Register on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 (73 FR 27614). That rule amended the ACAA rules to apply to foreign air carriers and added new provisions concerning passengers who use medical oxygen and passengers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. A corrections notice was published on March 18, 2009. This document further corrects editorial errors or omissions and provides clarifications regarding the preamble and regulatory text of the final rule.

By: Robert Rivkin



July 22, 2010

Executive Order 12866 and Congressional Review Requirements

By: Clereece Kroha


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