The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering removal of a specific type of seat from U.S. aircrafts because of the health hazards they pose to passengers.
The seats in question, "Slim" or "Slimplus" seats made by Zodiac Seats California LLC, have been found by the FAA to increase the risk of neck injuries in survivable plane crashes.
Videos reviewed by the FAA, as reported by USA Today, found that these seats offered little to no protection in the event of a collision, as a passenger could easily slide down the sit, causing their chin to hit the tray table on the seat in front of them, causing injury.
So far, there is no specific information on particular crashes in which passengers have been injured due to unsafe seats.
The seats are on planes such as Boeing’s 717-200 and MD-90-30 aircraft, Bombardier’s CRJ700, CRJ900 and Q400 aircraft, and Embraer’s E170 and E190 planes.
Airlines are complaining that the FAA’s order to remove the seats will result in extravagant costs. The FAA estimated that it would cost $85 to remove each unsafe seat. Considering that there are 10,482 proposed seats to be removed, the airlines are expected to pay out $890,970 for the change.
The seat replacement is meant to take place over the next five years. SkyWest, a regional carrier for American, Delta, United and Alaska airlines, alone reports that it would cost between $250,000 and $500,000 to replace seats in its affected 120 planes.
““The intent of this (airworthiness directive) is to provide a safe outcome for passengers during a survivable crash by preventing serious injuries,” it said in the order, as reported by USA Today.
According to USA Today, Zodiac, SkyWest and Delta Air Lines asked that FAA allow for modifications of the seats, to make them safer.
The official order from the FAA will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Any delays or exemptions to be approved for airlines or Zodiac may be approved afterward.