British Airways is facing the threat of a lawsuit that it failed to monitor the toxic air inside the cabin of its airplanes following the untimely deaths of two former pilots.
According to a report from U.K.’s Sunday Express, both former pilots, Richard Westgate and Karen Lysakowska, were 43 at the time of the deaths. An attorney representing Westgate tells the news source that his client urged him to take the fight against British Airways after his death, claiming the air inside the British Airways jets they flew was toxic and ultimately led to his death.
This is the latest claim from airline employees that the air inside the cabins of passenger jets is toxic. Westgate’s attorney says his client was often forced to wear oxygen masks during flights to avoid too much exposure to the toxic cabin air. In the U.S., these same concerns exist as colleagues in the air working for other major carriers as well as a growing number of passengers have reported developing headaches, blurred vision, and breathing problems after being exposed to toxic fumes in the planes’ cabins.
Cabin air is pressurized, heated, and re-circulated through the plane during the course of a flight. The cabin gets some of its air from what’s known as “bleed air” that is generated by the plane’s engines. Toxins in that bleed air are mixed with cabin air and re-circulated during a flight, constantly streaming those toxins through the cabin.
Data collected in the U.K. shows that pilots and crew aboard British Airways jets have reported “fume events” at least five times a week, a sharp increase from a few years ago, that require crew and pilots to don oxygen masks during a flight.