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Call for EU Commission to Act and Protect Travel Consumers and Aircrew from Aerotoxic Syndrome


The growing disquiet on the issue of fumes or smoke in aircraft cabins is a subject matter that will not go away. The effects of these events often lead to serious reports of immediate and long term sickness amongst aircrew and passengers. There is a strong debate on the causes of these events which have become widely known as either ’Aerotoxic Syndrome’ or ’Sick Aircraft Syndrome’. There is compelling evidence for example, to show that one of the compounds of jet engine oil - Tricresyl-Phosphate - is the active agent that causes serious neurological and other debilitating symptoms (a good indicator of such evidence can be found in ’The Aviation Contamination Air Reference Manual’). The disquiet expressed by Organisations such as The Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE) and The Aerotoxic Association has led to the distribution of the ’whistleblower’ film - ’Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines’ to all Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, along with a second call for a Public Enquiry on this important issue.

HolidayTravelWatch supports the actions of these important Organisations.

In our January edition of ’Get’Away - Your Route to Travel Rights’, we wrote an article entitled ’Sick Aircraft - Time to Apply A Regulation’. Within that article we supported the Consumers right to know; the right to know of safety deficits within aircraft, as enshrined by EU Directive 2111/2005.

This little appreciated Directive provides a somewhat powerful, yet watered down series of legal requirements upon the airlines, toward the Consumer on the issue of aircraft safety.

Notwithstanding, preamble 20 provides the following solution where a National Government is either unwilling or unable to deal with a aircraft safety issue. It states,

“Where there is a risk to safety that has not been adequately resolved by the Member State(s) concerned, the Commission should have the possibility of adopting immediate measures on a provisional basis” (It requires the Commission to follow an advisory procedure).

The Directive continues by providing examples of when the Commission may intervene, they are:

1. If there is serious evidence of safety deficiencies by an air carrier;

2. Lack of ability or willingness on the part of an air carrier to address the safety issues;

3. Lack of ability or willingness of the authorities to deal with the safety deficiencies of an air carrier;

4. Insufficient ability of the authorities to ensure that the aircraft is operated according to the Chicago Convention.

Given that campaigners are sceptical about the recent Government announcement to study the ’allegations’ of toxicity within aircraft cabins, it does raise the serious question of whether the UK National Authorities are doing enough to address this very serious public health issue. It also raises the question as to whether the EU Commission has in fact considered this problem and why they have not invoked their clear powers under EU Directive 2111/2005.

Frank Brehany, the Senior Consumer Advocate for HolidayTravelWatch states,

“Judging by the calls we receive on this issue and the information received from our fellow campaigners, this matter is not going to disappear. If a Government is either unwilling or unable to accede to a call for a Public Enquiry or creates an investigation which is considered to be flawed, then other than a members of Aircrew or groups of Consumers taking direct legal action for compensation, little else appears to be happening to protect the public and employees from a serious health and safety issue. It is clear that the EU Commission is empowered to act under EU Directive 2111/2005 - we call upon the Commission to use their extensive powers to act and demonstrate to the workers, consumers and those living under the flightpaths of Europe’s airports that safety is truely paramount!”


 Aerotoxic Syndrome
 Sick Aircraft Syndrome
 Holiday Illness
 Holiday Complaints
 Holiday Compensation

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