Wednesday August 16 11:32 AM ET
Airliner Fuel Tanks Safe, Says Industry
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A three-year inspection of airliner fuel systems
prompted by the crash of TWA (AMEX:TWA - news) Flight 800 failed to
turn up any major safety problems, according to an aviation industry report
released on Wednesday.
TWA Fight 800, a Boeing (NYSE:BA - news) 747, exploded and fell into
the sea shortly after takeoff from New York on July 17, 1996, killing 230
people. Government officials have determined that the explosion occurred
the center wing fuel tank, but the cause of the explosion remains unidentified.
In the wake of the crash, a coalition of aircraft manufacturers and air
inspected the fuel systems on 990 aircraft worldwide.
``The fuel tank systems of the world are soundly designed and do not
degrade over time,'' said Robert Peel, safety director of the Air Transport
Association, a group of air carriers that includes TWA.
The report did provide any clues, and industry officials declined to speculate,
as to why TWA Flight 800 exploded.
``It is fair to say we did not find anything in our investigation that
us to a conclusion on TWA Flight 800,'' said Robert Robeson, vice president
of civil aviation of the Aerospace Industries Association.
The report recommended stepping up maintenance and inspections of fuel
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systems to enhance safety. It did not address a Federal Aviation
Administration proposal to pump inert gas into fuel tanks to prevent