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Airlines to make overhead panels safer

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US airlines told to put support cords on panels
US airlines are planning to invest $27 million in improving the safety of overhead panels after accepting a proposal from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The proposal is aimed especially at Boeing 737 aircraft after numerous reports of passengers being hit in the face and head by the panels of equipment, which usually contain reading lights and oxygen masks.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigated accidents between 2008 and 2011 in which the panels separated during accidents and serious incidents, “likely increasing the number of reported occupant injuries, particularly to the head and face”.
The FAA is urging airlines to install new support cords for the panels within five years, and so far the airlines agree. Around 1,085 Boeing 737s are currently flying in the fleets of US airlines.
“As always, we’re working closely with the FAA to maintain the safety and compliance of our fleet,” said Southwest Airlines spokesman Casey Dunn. United Airlines, meanwhile, calls the proposal “clear, easily understood and with an acceptable compliance timeline”.
USA Today

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