Carrier accused of spin after flight to London was diverted over “toxic gas-type fumes.”
British Airways is facing new criticism over another alleged air bleed incident – this time, for downplaying what actually happened aboard a flight bound for San Francisco. Britain’s The Telegraph reports the flag carrier is receiving scrutiny for what they described as an “odour event.”
The flight in question was British Airways Flight 286, departing from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for London Heathrow Airport (LHR) on Monday, October 24, 2016. According to a report from the Vancouver Sun, the flight was diverted to Calgary before ultimately landing in Vancouver. According to airline union Unite, pilots told air traffic controllers the incident was due to “toxic gas-type fumes,” which caused crew members to become ill aboard the flight. A spokesperson for British Airways initially told the Vancouver Sun that the airline was investigating reports of an odor incident onboard.
Unite is now accusing British Airways of manipulating statistics and not being up-front with the public on toxic air bleed incidents. Officials for the union are calling on the carrier to disclose what exactly happened to cause the Airbus A380 to divert shortly after takeoff.
“Downplaying serious toxic fume events onboard aircraft as ‘odour events’ smacks of spin and an attempt to manipulate official statistics to downplay how widespread the problem really is in the industry,” Howard Beckett, director of legal services for Unite, told The Telegraph. “Fume events and continued exposure to contaminated cabin air can lead to serious ill health with long term debilitating effects on people’s well-being.”
A spokesperson for British Airways responded that they have not changed their investigation process, and report the cause of incidents to Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority. This is not the first time the British airline has faced accusations of problems with toxic air in cabins. In 2015, a coroner claimed a former pilot for British Airways died due to complications of cabin air toxins.
[Photo: Eduard Marmet]