February 03, 2005

Crapo: Air Travel Now Easier For COPD Patients

New federal rule will allow supplementary oxygen to be available during flights

Washington, DC â?? Under a new rule published yesterday, July 14, 2004, in the Federal Register, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo says people suffering with chronic illnesses requiring supplemental oxygen will find air travel much easier. The proposed rule by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will allow the AirSep LifeStyle Portable Oxygen Concentrator to be used on airplanes during flight. This means that patients who require oxygen will be allowed to bring their oxygen concentrator units on board the airplane or utilize the airplanes unit.Crapo, who founded and chairs the Congressional COPD (Chronic-Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Caucus, applauded the FAA proposal. â??This rule change is welcome news for the thousands of Americans who require supplemental oxygen. The FAA has wisely examined the options available and has come up with a safe solution that will allow patients to bring concentrators on board. Concentrators have been proven to be safe in the airâ??they do not interfere with on-board electronics or present a combustible hazard. This has been something that the COPD Caucus has been working on since its formation earlier this year, and I am pleased that we have been able to achieve this successâ??it demonstrates that the FAA is interested in COPD issues. I think this rule will make it easier for the Caucus to push for other efforts making life easier for COPD patients. I encourage those who are interested in this issue to alert the FAA regarding their thoughts on it.â??Under the proposed rule, the FAA initially will allow two specific supplementary oxygen systems to be used on airplanes by COPD patientsâ??the AirSep LifeStyle Portable Oxygen Concentrator and the Inogen One POC; study of other devices continues. The AirSep POC and Inogen One POC, which do not contain hazardous materials, operate by separating oxygen from nitrogen and other gases comprising ambient air and dispensing it in concentrated form to the user at a purity level of approximately 90 percent. The rule is now open for a 30-day public comment period. A final rule will be issued after the public comment period has been closed.FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at http://src.senate.gov/radio/.