|Inflammatory Insulation Recommendation Insulates FAA From Public Criticism But Inflames Airlines|
|Topic||Scarcity, Choice, and Opportunity Cost|
In the wake of the September 1998 Swissair crash, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is recommending that airlines replace the flammable insulation around the fuselage. Most industry officials said that they agreed and would comply. The cost may be as much as millions of dollars for each jet.
The FAA is reacting quickly although the exact cause of the Swissair crash is not certain. It reports that other fires have occurred due to the insulation. The new culture at the FAA takes a more aggressive stance toward air safety since the ValuJet crash in 1996 when the agency was under heavy criticism. The danger of quick reactions is that unnecessary and costly changes may be required--such as additional baggage checks and delays for passengers--following the TWA 800 crash in 1996, first believed to be caused by a terrorist bomb.(Updated December 1, 1998)
|Source||Alan Levin, "FAA changes worry airlines", USA Today, October 16, 1998.|
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