... And It Ain't Love
The British government
is concerned about the air quality aboard commercial aircraft. To
that end, Her Majesty's lawmakers have launched an investigation
into whether contaminated air is being pumped into aircraft by
compressors powered by the engines.
The British Airline Pilots Association, or BALPA -- along with
at least one flight attendants union -- says that air often
contains flecks of oil that cause nausea, headaches and flu-like
symptoms. In fact, the unions contend some people have been so
badly affected by the polluted air, that they've had to cut short
their flying careers.
"There have been complaints of nausea, headaches and flu-like
symptoms and there have been cases of people losing their flying
license," a spokesman for the BALPA told the Daily Telegraph. "What
happens in the cockpit and to the crew can also have an impact on
passengers in the cabin."
The Telegraph reports, on average, about half the air aboard a
commercial plane is recirculated (something else that has drawn
complaints) while the remainder is drawn in from outside by
compressors on the plane's engines.
This isn't the first time a government agency has looked into
just how fresh the "fresh" air being drawn into airplane cabins is.
The Brits also studied this problem in 2000, and found that engine
oil, while present in the air aboard commercial planes, posed no
significant health risk in the cabin air mix.
So now comes a new
study, that coincides with a similar investigation now being
conducted by the FAA.
BALPA states the problem could be fixed with better maintenance
procedures, as well as carefully watching to make sure crews don't
overfill engines with oil between flights.
The union also says filters should be installed on engines to
catch any random oil particles.