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Aviation: Contaminated Air

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are aware of any payments made by British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Limited to Ansett Transport Industries Operations Limited and East West Airline Operations Limited, under an agreement dated 3 September 1993, in connection with design flaws in the BAe 146 aircraft allowing contamination of cabin air by oil and other fumes; and, in light of that agreement, what steps they took at that time to ensure that regulations pertaining to cabin air quality were enforced.[HL7230]

In the time available neither the Department for Transport nor the CAA has traced any knowledge of any agreements between British Aerospace Regional Aircraft Limited and Ansett Transport Industries Operations Limited and East West Airline Operations Limited or payments made to those airlines in connection with alleged design flaws leading to contamination of cabin air. The CAA has found a record of icing problems with a BAe 146 operated by Ansett. Altitude restrictions were imposed by the CAA and the FAA following an incident involving Ansett in 1992.

The department would not expect to have known about a commercial agreement between a UK aerospace manufacturer and its customers. But if the noble Lord has access to a document which seems relevant to government policy, we invite him to send us a copy to consider.

As the two airlines were Australian, we have contacted the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia. It is not aware of any agreements or payments but says that Ansett (of which East West was a subsidiary)—now in liquidation—may have obtained a contribution for costs it incurred in investigating cabin air quality and in taking corrective action by modifying all its aircraft to incorporate improved air-flow arrangements.