Aircraft: Air Conditioning

Transport written question – answered on 21st April 2008.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations her Department has received on lubricant contamination of the air supply in aircraft cabins; what discussions she has had with British Aerospace and Civil Aviation Authority on this issue; and whether her Department plans to undertake research into the problem of contamination of cabin air on commercial aircraft.

Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Government are leading research in this area. In 2007 we commissioned a world first research project to try to capture substances released during transient "fume events." The first stage of this work was to identify and test equipment capable of sampling potentially harmful substances in cabin air. The report into this (first stage work) was published by Cranfield University on 21 February after peer review. It is published on the Department's website. The next phase of work is to use the equipment identified to capture real-time fume events; this work is being developed.

We have regular contact with the CAA about this. The Department has had no discussions with BAe or other aircraft manufacturers, but they did give evidence to the Committee on Toxicity enquiry, and a note of the meeting is on the internet at http://www.advisory bodies.doh.gov.uk/pdfs/annex5tox0621note.pdf

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