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article imageInquiry launched as BA pilots fall ill on flight

By Tim Sandle     Jan 8, 2012 in World
London - British Airways has launched an inquiry after two pilots were taken ill on board a flight late last year. The illnesses was attributed to a lack of oxygen on the flight deck.
The BBC reports that British Airways (BA) have opened an investigation after two pilots fell ill on a flight between London, England and Glasgow, Scotland. The flight was on December 20 but the incident has only just been announced.
The Daily Mail reports that the captain and his co-pilot became light-headed as the plane climbed to 20,000 feet. This was 20-minutes into the flight. The pilots had to request that flight attendants came to the cockpit to assist them.
Most commercial aircraft are pressurized at a maximum cabin altitude of 8,000 feet, which allows people to breathe normally. However, if the cabin pressurization level reaches the equivalent of 14,000 feet or higher then there is an oxygen shortage which triggers the release of oxygen masks.
Due to the incident the jet was forced to make an emergency landing and the passengers were transferred to another aircraft. No one was hurt in the incident and the pilots recovered. The official line, as 9 News reports, given to the passengers at the time was that the aircraft had experienced "technical problems".
However, it is unknown why the oxygen shortage happened (which require oxygen masks to be deployed in the flight cabin) and why such an event should happen in an established aeroplane (an Airbus A320) run by an aircraft carrier with one of the best safety records in the world.
In addition to the BA inquiry, procedure dictates that the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are also informed and an independent examination will also be conducted.
The Daily Telegraph notes that there was one complaint from a passenger, which was made to the professional pilots website.
Given that BA is one of the world's top ten airlines in terms of passenger numbers, many travellers will be interested in hearing the results of the inquiries.
More about Aircraft, British airways, Flight, flight delay, Oxygen masks
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