Pilots sound alarm over ozone pollution in cabin air

Large parts of the german short- and medium-haul fleets of almost all major airlines are affected by the problem, the newspaper welt am sonntag quotes from an internal VC memo, which is also available to NDR info and the news agency dpa. The gas ozone can irritate the lungs and respiratory tract, causing headaches and inflammation. It is also suspected of being carcinogenic.

Five years ago, the airlines had already promised to retrofit their aircraft with so-called ozone converters at short notice and to have new aircraft equipped with them. But this is not the case, the letter states. "Partly complete fleets" do not have ozone converters. The problem does not exist on almost all long-haul flights because entry into U.S. Airspace is not permitted without the ozone converters.

According to cockpit spokesman jorg handwerg, the converters were apparently not installed because they were not required by law. He accuses the airlines of trying to save money, the newspaper continues.

A spokeswoman for lufthansa said on sunday that all of the company’s new A320 airbuses are equipped with ozone filters from the factory, and that those already in use have been retrofitted. The federal association of the german aviation industry informed on request that ozone occurs in higher concentrations, especially in coarser heights. For this reason, the aircraft used on long-haul routes by all german airlines are equipped with ozone converters. "The german airlines basically comply with all operating regulations," the association stressed in a release.

Brigitte zypries, a member of SPD chancellor candidate peer steinbruck’s competence team, called on consumer minister ilse aigner (CSU) to take action. "Passengers and crews on german planes must not be exposed to potentially carcinogenic ozone just because the airlines want to save money". The federal government must finally take action and introduce legislation."

Problems with the cabin air have been a recurring theme in the past, but most of the time it was about vapor from oil or deicing agents that got into the cabin.

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