These are the aircraft in which you are most likely to be exposed to toxic fumes:

And this is how the gas gets into the air you breathe.

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•Please contact me if you have knowledge of any kind about toxic fumes in aircraft, e-mail

( There is a long list of aircraft types in which problems have arisen because of gas and contaminated air in the cabin, but certain types crop up more often than others – some of them far too often:

•BAe 146 and BAe ATP
•Boeing 757

These three aircraft types are highest in the statistics for reported incidents in international air travel. The small BAe aircraft are used mainly as intercity aircraft in Europe by large airlines like Lufthansa, British Airways, Aegean Airlines and West Air of Sweden. The Boeing 757 is a highly popular medium-range airliner used by major American and European airlines.

However, the list of problem aircraft is long, and several aircraft types in daily traffic to and from Norwegian airports are high on the list.

•Boeing 737-600, and 737-700 (the newer generations)
•Embraer EMB 145
•Airbus A320 and A330
•McDonnell Douglas DC-10
•Dash 8

The fleets of SAS, SAS Braathens, Norwegian and Widerøe are full of Boeing 737, Airbus A320 and A330 and Dash 8 machines, and until recently the MD-80 was one of the most common aircraft types in Norway.

Air from engines

The reason why toxic fumes and exhaust products from aero engines get into the cabin is that all modern jet aircraft actually obtain cabin air from their engines.

This is the way it has been since the 1950s, when the first commercial jet airliners came into operation.

The air used in the aircraft’s air conditioning equipment is so-called “bleed air” from the engines. This air is particularly suitable because it has already been warmed up, and it was also found that the system makes the engines very fuel-economical, with the result that all aircraft manufacturers make use of this method.

However, the system relies on the fact that the air drawn in is completely pure – which is where the problems arise.

The oil which lubricates jet engines is highly toxic, containing among other things the organophosphate group TCP, which affects and can damage the central nervous system in humans.

“We use CFM 56-3 engines, which are also used by SAS Braathens. All seals are of a type which function by means of overpressure created by the air intake system of the engine. This means that as long as the engine is running, air pressure keeps the oil on the right side of the seal, so leaks of this type are very unlikely in the engines we use,” says Anne Grete Ellingsen, PR and Information Manager in Norwegian.

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