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Aviation: Air Quality

Volume 694: debated on Thursday 26 July 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have for new research into the contamination of cabin air on commercial aircraft; what is the budget for such research; and on what basis it will be commissioned; and [HL4950]

What aircraft monitoring studies are currently being undertaken on behalf of the Department for Transport; who is undertaking such studies; on what basis were they commissioned; and what are the (a) past, and (b) projected costs. [HL4951]

The Department for Transport is not currently conducting aircraft monitoring studies; it is testing equipment for a future aircraft monitoring study. The budget and the specification for that future research work will be developed once the current testing of equipment is completed. The equipment being tested includes solid phase micro-extraction devices (SPMEs), photo-ionisation detectors (PIDs) and a grab sampler being developed by BRE (former Building Research Establishment). The tests may also determine where best to place sampling equipment on aircraft.

Once we have identified effective equipment it is intended to sample around 1,000 flights using more than one sampling device; more than one laboratory to analyse the results; and an independent project manager from the academic world. Crew will be asked to record whether they detected any smells. Sampling will take place on the BAe 146, the Boeing 757 and specific aircraft where fume events have been reported in the past.