FAA Accepts Four More Portable Oxygen Concentrators

A final rule effective Wednesday means passengers may bring any of 11 different POCs aboard aircraft and use them, with the approval of the aircraft operator.

Passengers on U.S. commercial aircraft now may bring any of 11 different portable oxygen concentrators on board and use them, with the approval of the aircraft operator, thanks to an FAA final rule that was published and immediately effective Wednesday.

The iGo® Portable Oxygen System from DeVilbiss Healthcare Inc. is a three-liter system with two operating modes.The rule signed by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt amended Special Federal Aviation Regulation 106, Use of Certain Portable Oxygen Concentrator Devices on Board Aircraft, to allow the use of DeVilbiss Healthcare Inc.'s iGo, International Biophysics Corporation's LifeChoice, Inogen Inc.'s Inogen One G2, and Oxlife LLC.'s Oxlife Independence Oxygen Concentrator.

POCs are small, FDA-regulated machines that separate oxygen from nitrogen and other gases contained in ambient air and dispense it in concentrated form to the user, with an oxygen concentration of about 90 percent. They can use rechargeable batteries or, if the aircraft operator obtains FAA approval, aircraft electrical power, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has determined the four POCs are not hazardous materials. That means they do not require the same level of special handling as compressed oxygen and are safe for use on board aircraft, provided certain conditions for their use are met.

SFAR 106, originally published in July 2005, already allowed passengers to carry on and use AirSep Corporation's LifeStyle and FreeStyle; Inogen's Inogen One; SeQual Technologies' Eclipse; Philips Respironics Inc.'s EverGo; Delphi Medical Systems' RS-00400; and Invacare Corporation's XPO2.

The contact for more information about this rule is David Catey of the Air Transportation Division, FAA Flight Standards Service, at 202-267-8166.

In the rule, FAA said it still intends to develop a performance-based standard for all future POC devices but wants to ensure such a standard does not hamper innovative technologies by the manufacturers. "This process is time-consuming and we intend to publish a notice in the Federal Register and offer the public a chance to comment on the proposal when it is complete. In the meantime, manufacturers continue to create new and better POCs, and several have requested that their product also be included as an acceptable device in SFAR 106," the agency explained.

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