Investigation of Illness Focuses on Engines

Vala Hafstað

An investigation into the illness of several Icelandair flight attendants in January of last year currently focuses on the aircraft’s engines and their maintenance, reports.  This is stated in assessment report on the investigation, done by the investigation board of transportation accidents. The report states that the investigation of two additional cases of a similar nature is being worked on as part of the same investigation.

In early January of last year, a Boing 767-300 aircraft from Icelandair had to be turned around and landed at Keflavík International Airport, due to the illness of flight attendants on board. At the time, the investigation board of transportation accidents was already investigating several other similar cases which included illness among crew members.

On this particular flight, three flight attendants had fallen ill, in addition to one who showed milder symptoms. The other three had to be given oxygen. One of them was incapable of performing her duties during the flight. She was attended to by a doctor on board.

The investigation board was notified while the aircraft was on its way to Keflavík, enabling its members to collect samples on board right after landing. That had not been possible in the previous cases.

The board is investigating whether the flight attendants’ work environment on board Boeing 767 aircraft is to blame for their illness, with a focus on engines and engine maintenance.

Last fall, there were reports of illness among Icelandair flight attendants during flight. At the time, it was reported that the airline participated in a so-called FACTS study, initiated by the European Aviation Safety Agency, regarding air quality in passenger cabins of aircraft. 


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