A summary from the Lufthansa staff meeting November 20th 2017, topic: FUMES
There were significantly more interested people present than expected.
Of course, management representatives were also attending in order to present their point of view.
In short the highlights from my point of view:
The lecture by Professor Dieter Scholz, an expert in aircraft systems technology from Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. He showed that small quantities of engine oils ALWAYS get into the air, even if the seals are working as intended.
- He further reminded that the engine oil can cause nervous system effects according to the warnings on the oil packaging (as they were in place up to 2004).
- There is even the possibility that chemicals from the oil mist get into the on-board water system because in most airplanes the water tank is pressurized with bleed air. This means in plain language that our coffee and tea on board could also be affected.
If you are interested in details, you can read the lecture here: http://CabinAir.ProfScholz.de
Frequent questions coming from the audience:
About repeated fume incidents involving the same aircraft over and over - again management officials said they did not know - to which the audience reacted with a great deal of displeasure - but they want to get information ...
When asked why not after such incidents’ the entire air conditioning is cleaned, or when that would be the case, rather evasive answers were given. I.e.: one can not clean the air conditioning after every ‚smelly oven’ incident - after verified fume / smell incidents’ this would of course be done.
We know that this is definitely not the case - the complete cleaning of an a/c system can only be incorporated into a ‚D-check’, where all cabin side panels are removed and access is provided to the air ducts. However a ‚D-check’ which involves long ground times (several weeks). Have a look at www.lufthansa-technik.com/en/aircraft-maintenance
But, as we can prove, most fume-aircraft go back into service after only a short ground-time without thorough cleaning of the air-conditioning system.
The management emphasized that there are HEPA/carbon filters in the recirculation path of the air conditioning system. They acknowledged that these are installed only on a few models. E.g. all Lufthansa aircraft of the A320 family they said are equipped with such filters. On other aircraft there are HEPA filters that can only filter specific particles, i.e. virusses and bacteria. VOCs are not filtered out by HEPA filters.
A sustainable solution needed more research and time (they said) ...
The problem has been known since the 1950s. How much more time do you want to take at our expense?
Then they tried to appease us, or shine their light, saying that Lufthansa is already doing more than required by law.
Is the responsibility being shifted to politics?
Just because legislature does not demand anything, the employers are not dismissed from their responsibility when it comes to the integrity of their customers and employees!
The unbelievable behaviour of some clinics in airport vicinity was addressed, as well as the lack of understanding how the employers’ liability insurance association (BG) deals with sick colleagues.
I have not heard of any recognized cases of long-term ill-health victims - only (acute) cases from a few days to weeks are recognized, which are considered to be ‚completed’ after the crew member returns to flying.
Another issue was the inadequate amount of smoke hoods onboard and that it would be desirable for each crewmember to have one available.
Captain Raimund MÜLLER who spoke for the management tried to give us an explanation such as, that the smoke hoods are only to be used after specific instruction from the cockpit ... upon which loud and heated protests arose from the audience.
So you see – there was some ‚fire’ in it ...
I was really enthusiastic about the many colleagues who consistently asked critical questions on the topic and who refused to be intimidated by the presence of management.
The loud and approving applause of all colleagues at the end, will maybe get one or the other LH representative thinking ...
(Written by a flight attendant known to the staff of ENATLB)