July 14, 2005

Portable oxygen OK for airline passengers-FAA

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) will soon allow passengers who require
medical oxygen to use certain portable oxygen concentrators on
board for use during air travel.

Previously, airlines were prohibited from allowing
passengers to use oxygen because it is typically provided in
metal tanks containing the compressed gas, considered a
hazardous material.

According to a Special Federal Aviation Regulation, two
companies, AirSept Corporation and Inogen Inc, have developed
small concentrators approved by the US Food and Drug
Administration for use on board aircraft. The devices work by
filtering out nitrogen from ambient air and provide the user
with oxygen at a concentration of about 90 percent.

The Regulation will permit the devices to be used
throughout the flight, including during takeoff and landing. It
requires that users carry enough extra batteries to power the
device for the duration of time they may be on board the
aircraft. Although it will be permissible to recharge a battery
during flight, the FAA will not require that airlines make this
capability available to passengers.

Passengers using concentrators during flight will be
required to inform the pilot that they are doing so, and
provide a written statement signed by a licensed physician that
verifies the passenger's ability to use the device.

The regulation allows the use of concentrators during air
travel, but it does not require that airlines let passengers
use them. The Regulation will become effective on August 11,