Rule Ensures Safer Wiring on Passenger Jets

The Federal Aviation Administration finalized a new rule on Nov. 7 that will protect jetliners better against wire failures and related fires, the agency announced. FAA said the rule "greatly enhances the safety requirements for design, installation and maintenance of electrical wiring in new and existing airplane designs" and adds new certification standards that will address wire degradation and inadequate design or maintenance.

"We've gained enormous knowledge about aircraft wiring issues over the last decade. With this rule, we are ensuring that wiring systems will be properly designed, installed, and maintained over the life of the airplane, FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nicholas A. Sabatini said. The rule gives manufacturers 24 months after the rule's effective date to complete FAA-approved instructions for new wiring-related maintenance and inspection tasks. For existing planes, U.S. scheduled air carriers and foreign airlines operating U.S.-registered aircraft must develop maintenance and inspection programs for wiring based on the manufacturers' instructions within 39 months of the effective date and update those programs as needed for subsequent aircraft modifications.

FAA said the rule's estimated total cost is $416 million during the next 25 years. The new maintenance requirements apply to planes carrying more than 30 passengers or having a maximum payload of 7,500 pounds or more.

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