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Allied Pilots Association: FAA Makes Right Call on Toxic Fumes

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 6, 2018) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA) applauded the Federal Aviation Administration’s issuance of a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) regarding “Procedures for Addressing Odors, Smoke and/or Fumes in Flight,” citing the serious health and safety threat posed by toxic air in the cockpit and cabin of an airliner.

“We applaud the FAA for taking this significant step to mitigate the risk air crews and passengers face from toxic fumes,” said Captain Dan Carey, APA’s president. “A toxic fume event can result in immediate incapacitation and have a long-term adverse impact, and it can affect everyone on board.”

Academic research indicates that approximately 20,000 toxic fume events have occurred during the past 10 years — an average of five each day. A toxic fume event occurs when the air inside the aircraft becomes contaminated from engine bleed air.

The FAA’s recently released SAFO recommends that air carriers “review their company’s odor, smoke and/or fumes procedures to ensure they address benign odor events as well as toxic odor, smoke and/or fumes, in an expeditious manner to limit exposure of passengers and crews.”

APA has developed and submitted detailed recommendations to American Airlines concerning procedures for ensuring that crewmembers are properly trained and aware of the threat posed by toxic cockpit and cabin air. APA is now awaiting the company’s response.

“Given the seriousness of this threat, we are hopeful that the company responds promptly to our recommendations and moves forward in accordance with the FAA’s SAFO,” Carey said.

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org. American Airlines is the world’s largest passenger airline.

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