Airlines Told to Remove Seats From Small Planes, Could Cause Neck Injuries

May 26, 2017

Federal safety regulators are telling airlines to remove a certain type of seat from their planes, saying the seat could cause neck injuries during otherwise survivable crash landings.

The order covers 10,482 seats used mostly on mostly smaller regional jets. Airlines will have five years to remove the seats.

The FAA proposed the action last year and made it final on Wednesday.

The FAA says the seats can slide forward in crashes and cause passengers’ heads to slide down the back of the seats in front of them, hitting their chins on the tray tables.

Zodiac Seats California, the seat maker, and two companies that use the seats in their planes, Canada’s Bombardier and Brazil’s Embraer, argued that the order was based on limited research. Delta Air Lines called for more testing.

Zodiac, Bombardier, regional airline SkyWest and others protested that the FAA underestimated the cost of removing 10,482 seats, which the FAA put at $890,970.

The seats have been installed on planes including some models of Boeing 717s and MD-90s, Bombardier Series 900s, and Embraer 190s and ERJ 170s.

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