Airline workers take action over contaminated air claims

Airline workers take action over contaminated air claims

A group of airline workers is planning legal action against British airlines who allegedly poisoned them with contaminated cabin air.

Unite the Union is funding legal action by seventeen former and serving cabin crew members, who believe they fell sick after breathing in fumes mixed with engine oil and other toxic chemicals.

They are in the early stages of lodging personal injury civil claims against British airlines in the courts.

A spokesperson for Unite, which represents more than 20,000 airline workers, said it “is quite clear that the industry needs to do more to monitor the quality of cabin air”.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed there were 295 separate incidents of fumes or smoke inside a passenger jet operated by a British airline in 2014. There have so far been a further 125 incidents this year.

However, a spokesperson for the CAA told The Scotsman: “Several expert studies on the issue of cabin air quality have been carried out in recent years including a committee on toxicity paper published in 2013.

“The overall conclusion has been that there is no positive evidence of a link between exposure to contaminants in cabin air and possible long-term health effects – although such a link cannot be excluded.”

Unite is also still waiting to read the conclusions of inquests into the deaths of former British Airways pilot Richard Westgate and air steward Matthew Bass in 2012 and 2014 to find out if toxic fumes could have played a role in their deaths.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: “We would not operate an aircraft if we believed it posed a health or safety risk to our customers or crew.

“There has been substantial research into cabin air quality over the last few years. In summary, the research has found no evidence that exposure to potential chemicals in the cabin causes long-term ill-health.”

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