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Aircraft Cabin Air

The air you breathe on an aircraft may not be as good as you had hoped for. Coming to this page, you probably know already. However, if it is all new to you, read my German Memo or watch this Video in English.

Hawaiian Airlines, smoke in cabin



A detailed look at the design of jet engines with their bearings, lubrication and sealing reveals that jet engines leak small amounts of oil by design. This oil gets into the engine compressor and the bleed air. Almost all passenger jet aircraft today use this potentially contaminated bleed air for cabin ventilation.


Table of Contents

all related to Aircraft Cabin Air Quality / Contamination.

Reach this page with:
See also:



2020-12-18: Pressegespräch: 10 Jahre German Wings "Cabin Air Contamination Event" am 2010-12-19 mit "Fast-Katastrophe"

Einladung: Whistleblower-Netzwerk: Online-Pressegespräch zum "Underreporting" von Fume Events, Text archiviert
Bericht: Online-Pressegespräch "Fume Event"
Vortrag: Contaminated Aircraft Cabin Air – An Aeronautical Engineering Perspective
Pressespiegel: General-Anzeiger, Bonn, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

2020-08-10: HANDELSBLATT: Gefährliche Kabinenluft: Nervengifte in 10.000 Metern Höhe

Die Luft in Zivilflugzeugen ist potenziell gesundheitsschädlich. Endlich soll eine EU-Norm kommen – es zeichnet sich ein schwacher Kompromiss ab.

deutsch Text im HANDELSBLATT, deutsch Text archiviert.

englisch Dangerous cabin air: Nerve poisons at 10,000 metres altitude (PDF)

2020-07-31: JetBlue Pilot Wins Major Worker Compensation for Toxic Fume Exposure

The airline got accused of being "more concerned about keeping planes in the air than worker safety." The toxic fumes incident, or more specifically, "acute chemical inhalation" and "acute toxic inhalation," took place aboard an Airbus A320 and led to Captain Myers’devastating health problems.

englisch Text at Transport Workers Union of America (TWU), englisch text archived.

2020-05-27: Open Letter - German Government Financial Aid for Lufthansa Must Included Money for Better Cabin Air

Read: P-COC: Open Letter - Lufthansa Financial Aids and Fume Events (PDF).

2020-05-21: € 9 Billion Lufthansa Bailout by German Government - Contaminated Cabin Air Likely to Remain Unnoticed!

"The two seats on the Supervisory Board should now be filled with experts who are aiming for Lufthansa's economic recovery and not pursuing a political agenda." (Handelsblatt quoting a politician.)
If this is the deal - even with that much of government money - Lufthansa (and the rest of the aviation industry) will again not be forced to adhere to the law when it comes to aircraft cabin air.
Read: D. Scholz: Demands to be Placed on Lufthansa Related to Cabin Air as One of the Prerequisites for Bailout (PDF).

2020-01-28: ARD/SWR (German Television): Polluted Cabin Air

YouTube-Video with English Subtitles (inspired by Prof. Scholz, realized by Markus Steinhausen after month of dedicated hard work)

See more information related to this documentary below!

Reporting by Aviation Herald

Far too often there is a CACE (Cabin Air Contamination Event) somewhere in the world to allow me to offer here an exhaustive list of such events. I have added here just a few quite extreme events once I came accross them and found time to look into them a little. In most cases, I just refer to Aviation Herald. Only occasionally, I have added something on my own. Aviation Herald is a good source, but also at times struggles to report about all CACEs. As I said, CACEs are just far too often. We need to change that!

2019-10-19: Aviation Herald: Accident: British Airways A320 at Paphos on Oct 19th 2019, fumes in cockpit, both pilots partially incapacitated

2019-08-22: Aviation Herald: Accident: Hawaiian A21N near Honolulu on Aug 22nd 2019, fumes and smoke on board prompt evacuation
Prof. Scholz: An analysis of the sequence of events!

2019-08-05: Aviation Herald: Accident: British Airways A321 at Valencia on Aug 5th 2019, smoke on board

2019-03-29: Five UK Airlines Sued Over Toxic Cabin Air Including British Airways and EasyJet

EasyJet, British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic have all been served lawsuits by the union Unite, with a total of 51 cases to be heard. Four of the lawsuits involve pilots while the rest are being brought by members of cabin crew. Court actions involve crews who claim to have suffered chronic illness as a result of being exposed to toxic fumes. It could take up to a year before they’re heard in court.

englisch Text at The Independent, englisch text archived.

More Reporting by Aviation Herald - Selection of Incidences Before 2019

2018-12-10: Aviation Herald: Incident: Indigo A320neo at Kolkata on Dec 10th 2018, smoke on board
Impressive Video. My Comment on Twitter and and My Contribution on Twitter to the Discussion. "The occurrence was rated a serious incident and is being investigated by the AIB". Telegraph 2018-12-13: Bearing-oil leak blamed for IndiGo cabin smoke.

2015-07-17: Aviation Herald: Accident: Spirit A319 at Boston on Jul 17th 2015, fumes on board, captain died 50 days later


Own Contributions

Papers, Presentations, Memos

Author Title Type of Work Delivered No of Pages Occasion / Purpose Abstract PURL/DOI Full Text Size
Dieter Scholz New
englisch Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (ANSES) – Hearing on the Operation of Air Conditioning in Aircraft Cabins and the Associated Air Quality
Presentation 08.07.21 75 ANSES Investigation on "Air Quality in Aircraft and Health Effects on Aircrew"
Hearing Prof. Scholz, Online, 2021-07-08
*.pdf  4.5M
Dieter Scholz englisch Aircraft Cabin Air and Engine Oil – An Engineering Update Presentation 15.03.21 42 International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2021
Online, 15 - 18 March 2021
*.pdf  2.4M
Dieter Scholz englisch Contaminated Aircraft Cabin Air - An Aeronautical Engineering Perspective Presentation 18.12.20 22 Press Meeting 10 Years German Wings "Cabin Air Contamination Event" (CACE): 2010-12-19 Online, HAW Hamburg, 2020-12-18 --- *.pdf  1.4M
Dieter Scholz deutsch Lufthansa-Rettung: Es geht nicht nur um CO2 --- Spezifische Anforderungen and die Lufthansa auch zum Thema "Kontaminierte Kabinenluft"! Offene E-Mail 13.05.20 2 Unterstützung aus dem Bereich der Technik für Sven-Christian Kindler (MdB) and Katharina Dröge (MdB) --- *.pdf  176K
Dieter Scholz englisch Lufthansa rescue: It's not just about CO2 --- Specific demands on Lufthansa also on the subject of "contaminated cabin air"! Open E-Mail 13.05.20 2 Technical support for Sven-Christian Kindler (MdB) and Katharina Dröge (MdB) --- --- *.pdf  171K
Dieter Scholz englisch Congress on Poisoned Aircraft Cabin Air - First Solutions to the Problem Become Visible Press Release 24.09.19 6 International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2019
Summary of Technical Key Findings
--- --- *.pdf  577K
Dieter Scholz englisch Cabin Air Contamination – A Summary of Engineering Arguments Presentation 18.09.19 35 International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2019
Imperial College London, 17 - 18 September 2019
*.pdf  2.2M
Dieter Scholz englisch Contaminated Aircraft Cabin Air - An Aeronautical Engineering Perspective Presentation 27.05.19 60 Meeting 2019, Association des Victimes du Syndrome Aérotoxique (AVSA), Paris CDG Airport, France, 27.05.2019 --- *.pdf  3.2M
Dieter Scholz englisch A Quick Introduction to the Problem of Cabin Air Contamination Presentation 12.03.19 4 Deutscher Bundestag, Berlin, 12.03.2019 --- *.pdf  373K
Dieter Scholz englisch Technical Solutions to the Problem of Contaminated Cabin Air Presentation 05.09.18 76 Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress 2018, Friedrichshafen (Germany), 04.-06.09.2018 *.html
*.pdf  4.0M
Dieter Scholz englisch Jet Engines – Bearings, Seals and Oil Consumption Memo 02.04.18 22 Review to substantiate the calculation of the oil concentration in aircraft cabins *.html *.pdf  2.2M
Dieter Scholz englisch Cabin Air Contamination - An Aeronautical Perspective Presentation 16.03.18 73 59. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Pneumologie und Beatmungsmedizin e.V., Dresden (Germany), 16. März 2018 *.html --- *.pdf  5.0M
Dieter Scholz deutsch Belastete Kabinenluft in Flugzeugen - Flugzeugbau-Experte Dieter Scholz sieht Handlungsbedarf Interview 06.12.17 4 Hinweis: Dies ist eine etwas
vollständigere Version des Interviews
als im Themendienst der HAW Hamburg vom 03.04.2018
Streichungen der Pressestelle sind hervorgehoben.
--- --- *.pdf  501K
Dieter Scholz englisch Aircraft Cabin Air - Quality or Contamination? Presentation 20.11.17 48 Personalversammlung "Kabine"
Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Frankfurt, 20 November 2017
--- --- *.pdf  4.1M
Dieter Scholz deutsch Die Luft in der Kabine von Passagierflugzeugen ist nicht so gut wie oft angenommen - Hintergründe, Lösungsmöglichkeiten und deren Umsetzung Memo 01.10.17 4 Populärwissenschaftliche Darstellung und Einführung --- *.pdf  329K
Dieter Scholz englisch Aircraft Cabin Air and Engine Oil - An Engineering View Paper 17.09.19 6 International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2017
Imperial College London, 19 - 20 September 2017
*.html 10.5281/zenodo.3565834 *.pdf  765K
Dieter Scholz englisch Aircraft Cabin Air and Engine Oil - An Engineering View Presentation 19.09.17 72 International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2017
Imperial College London, 19 - 20 September 2017
*.pdf  5.2M
Dieter Scholz englisch Aircraft Cabin Air and Engine Oil - A Systems Engineering View Presentation 27.04.17 75 Hamburg Aerospace Lecture Series (HALS)
together with VC and UFO
HAW Hamburg, 27 April 2017
*.html 10.5281/zenodo.1237858 *.pdf  7.2M
Dieter Scholz englisch Aircraft Cabin Air & Water Contamination/Quality – An Aircraft Systems Engineering Perspective Presentation 01.04.14 46 QCAQE – Global Cabin Air Quality Executive
London, 31 March – 2 April 2014

Video Showing Contaminated Water on Aircraft (2020)

Background to: Contaminated Water on Aircraft (2020)




YouTube Video


Presentations are based on one another - extended through the years; shortened for the audience and allocated time.



YouTube Playlist: Cabin Air (Uploads to YouTube by Prof. Scholz) Pin
YouTube Playlist: Cabin Air (Video LINKS)
Vimeo Playlist: Aircraft Cabin Air (Video LINKS)

englisch Presentation at the International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2019

englisch Presentation at the International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2017

deutsch Dieter Scholz im Interview bei:
ZDFzoom - Dicke Luft im Flieger (2017)

deutsch Dieter Scholz im Interview bei:
Deutschlandfunk Nova - Kabinenluft (2017)



Media Coverage (selected)

ARD/SWR: Schadstoffe in der Kabinenluft deutsch

ARD/SWR, 2020-01-28: Schadstoffe in der Kabinenluft (Teil 1: SWR-Bericht mit Video - mit Scholz)
Meine technischen Ergänzungen zum Report als Kommentar deutsch
My technical additions to the documentary as a comment englisch
ARD/SWR, 2020-01-28: Schadstoffe in der Kabinenluft (Teil 2: Text des Beitrags)
ARD/SWR (German Television), 2020-01-28: Polluted Cabin Air (YouTube-Video with English Subtitles) englisch
ARD/SWR, 2020-01-28: Schadstoffe in der Kabinenluft (Teil 3: Atemschutzmaske für die Kabinenbesatzung)
ARD/SWR, 2020-01-28: Schadstoffe in der Kabinenluft (Presseinformation, PDF)
ARD/SWR, Report aus Mainz, 2020-01-28: Giftige Kabinenluft im Flugzeug? (Video, Vorschau)
Lufthansa, PV Kabine, 2020-01-07: Smoke, Smell, Fume Events (Forderung: Atemschutzmasken für Kabinenpersonal - Hintergrüde, PDF)
Dräger-X-plore-3300 (Die von der PV Kabine vorgeschlagene Atemschutzmaske)
The Aviation Herald: Latest research: Bleed Air Ducts can not be cleaned, pollutants deeply penetrate human bodies (News about the ARD/SWR Docu)
Markus Steinhausen, 2020-01-28: Kontaminierte Kabinenluft durch Fehlkonstruktion der Flugzeugventilation. LinkedIn


Schwäbische: Piloten klagen über Gesundheitsprobleme deutsch

Schwäbische, 2018-10-22: Piloten klagen über Gesundheitsprobleme (PDF), (Interview u.a. mit Prof. Scholz) (User=cabinair=PW)
In Web.Archive.


Die ZEIT: Gift in der Kabine? deutsch

Die ZEIT, 2017-10-19: Gift in der Kabine? (PDF), (Interview u.a. mit Prof. Scholz) (User=cabinair=PW)
Siehe auch: ZEIT ONLINE, in Web.Archive.


Sunday Times: EasyJet is First Airline to Go for Total Cabin Air Filtration

Sunday Times, 2017-09-17: Article (PDF) (User=cabinair=PW), Video.

ORF2, KONKRET, 2017-09-22, 18:30: Video (Interview e.g. with Prof. Scholz).
ORF2, ZIB2, 2017-09-22, 22:00: Video (Interview e.g. with Prof. Scholz), Transcript, in Web.Archive.


EasyJet to go for Cabin Air Filtration in the Recirculation Path

Pall had announced already on 2016-12-05 (Web.Archive) that EasyJet would retrofit their fleet of A320 family aircraft with the latest Pall Aerospace PUREair Advanced Cabin Air Filters [in the recirculation].



CO Detectors

Sensors have been demanded by pilots and cabin crew for years, but they are still not introduced on board. There may be good reasons for NOT introducing air quality sensors on passenger aircraft. However, every individual on an aircraft may decide to get informed and this can not be denied. Therefore, immediate action could be taken without waiting for the ultimate industry solution of the problem - which may never come. This is especially important in failure cases like fume events. Failures compromising cabin air quality may alert people on board, but it may need some kind of objective confirmation before action can be taken. Situations with cabin air quality problems could also pass unnoticed without sensing. If cabin air is contaminated, it will show a mixture of many substances. Carbon monoxide (CO) will most probably be one of these substances. Simple logic tells us that it is sufficient to trace one bad gas in an abnormal quantity to conclude that the cabin air is not ok. CO is taken from the cocktail to be measured, because inexpensive and small CO detectors are available on the market. Pilots (cabin crew, passengers) should read the carbon monoxide (CO) concentration from a personal CO detector as an objective indicator in addition to the observations from their senses (nose and eyes). It is known from CO measurements on the BAe 146 that the CO concentration will be low even in a fume event [1]. For this reason, the CO concentration should not be compared against the limit value of 50 ppm (CS 25.831), but rather against values obtained under normal conditions (e.g. 2 ppm; as a frequent flyer you will find out for yourself soon).

[1] Global Cabin Air Quality Executive: Carbon Monoxide Database Collated on 345 BAe 146 Flights in UK, 2003-2004, 2006 (access difficult, but contact GCAQE for more information if you are desperate)

Feel free to report/share your findings. E.g. take a picture of your CO detector with its reading (maybe with a fume filled cabin in the background) and report about what happened to people during that flight. We may all learn from this collected information.

I have expressed the above view in my presentations and have been asked where inexpensive(!) CO detectors can be bought. Looking on the Internet myself, I discovered these links:

Inexpensive Instant CO Sensors:
UYIGAO UA6070 CO Detector (identical to KXL-801) --- Features: loud alarm
KXL-801 CO Detector (identical to UYIGAO UA6070) --- Video Test
KKmoon GM8805 CO Detector --- Features: data hold, alarm threshold can be set. Video Test. Manual (PDF)
AS8700A CO Detector --- Features: data hold
HT-530 CO Detector --- Features: clip to attach to clothes
KXL-601 Mini CO Detector (low budget device) --- User report: "very inaccurate", "not recommended"


Affordable CO Datalogger:
Lascar Electronics EL-USB-CO300 Carbon Monoxide Datalogger



Breathing Masks

Each member of the cockpit crew is protected by one onboard oxygen mask. Oxygen comes from a bottle and is available for the rest of the flight. Cabin crew have (at best) a smoke hood for their protection. The chemical oxygen supply in the smoke hood is intended only for short duration. A private breathing mask can protect people in the cabin in the very rare event of air contamination. A breathing mask filters the air and will do so for the rest of the flight. Inexpensive are the army standard breathing masks. Buy only new masks. Germany: "Bundeswehr Schutzmaske M65" (by Dräger). Better suited is a civil mask like the "Dräger X-plore 6300 Full Mask". It has a standardized 40 mm threaded filter connection. A suitable filter would be the "Dräger X-plore A2B2E2K2HGP3". This is a "combined filter" for "organic gases and vapours" (A), "inorganic gases and vapours" (B), and other substances.

Also this information is provided here; because I have been ask for it. Cabin crew members are increasingly concerned. Some already have a personal breathing mask in their carry-on baggage or intend to do so. By asking cabin crew members to consider to carry a breathing mask (in order to be prepared for a very unlikely event), I do NOT state that cabin air can be compared to the air after an attack with chemical weapons. What I argue is only this: A breathing mask (with a suitable filter) will protect people in "harsh environments". I do NOT consider the aircraft cabin such a "harsh environment". Therefore, a breathing mask will give sufficient protection in such cases where people have (claimed to) become ill in the aircraft cabin due to (potentially) contaminated cabin air. Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees. If employers do not act accordingly, cabin crew have the right to take measures themselves as deemed necessary.


Student Contributions

Author University Title Type of Work Delivered No of Pages Full Text Size
Sascha Max Hochschule RheinMain (Lufthansa Technik) deutsch Entwicklung eines Versuchsaufbaus zur Detektierung von Triebwerksöl und Enteisungsflüssigkeit im Bleedsystem Vortrag zur Bachelorarbeit 14.11.19 8 *.pdf  693K
Marcel Lakies HAW Hamburg englisch Dynamic Cabin Air Contamination Calculation Theory Project 01.03.19 84 *.pdf  3.2M
Viola Voth TU Braunschweig deutsch Analyse der Entstehungsmechanismen von Ölnebel in Flugzeugkabinen Bachelorarbeit 17.07.18 116 *.pdf   11M
Copyright of student contributions is with the respective author. Thanks to the students for their enthusiasm to advance the topic! Thanks for giving me permission to upload the documents.


Proceedings of the Aircraft Cabin Air Conferences

Results at Zenodo
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Cabin Air Conference 2021

*.pdf 2021 Conference Programme     Size:  1.1M     10.5281/zenodo.4627004

Preparing Proceedings for the Conference 2021

*.doc ACA-Template-2021.doc     Size:  528K     Persistent URL: (DOC)

*.pdf ACA-Template-2021.pdf     Size:  729K

*.pdf ACA_M_Template_Style_2021-03-01.pdf     Size:  556K     Persistent URL: (PDF)


Cabin Air Conference 2019

*.pdf 2019 Conference Programme     Size:  8.4M     10.5281/zenodo.4554737

Conference Proceedings 2019 - Presentations

*.pdf 2019 Conference Proceedings - Presentations     Size:   58M     10.5281/zenodo.4626252

Results at Zenodo:
2019 Conference: Individual Presentations:


Cabin Air Conference 2017

*.pdf 2017 Conference Programme     Size:  4.3M     10.5281/zenodo.4554678

Conference Proceedings 2017 - Publications

*.pdf 2017 Conference Proceedings - Publications     Size:  9.4M     10.5281/zenodo.4626663

Find individual papers in the proceedings via the Index on page 2 and 3 (click on name or title).
The PDF Table of Contents shows author's names (alphabetically by last name) and also links to the paper.

Short link to publisher's version:
Proceedings stored in Repo at LU Hannover:
Proceedings indexed and archived at TIB:
Proceedings indexed in Google Scholar
Proceedings indexed in WorldCat:
Proceedings indexed in the German Common Union Catalogue (GVK):

Results at Zenodo:
2017 Conference: All Results: (all results)
2017 Conference: Individual Papers:
2017 Conference: Individual Presentations:

Citation of Individual Article (ISO 690):
LastName, FirstName, 2019. ArticleTitle. In: Proceedings of the International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2017. Journal of Health and Pollution, Vol. 9, No. 24 (Dec. 2019), pp. StartPage - EndPage. - URL:

Citation of Proceedings (ISO 690):
Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE), 2019. Proceedings of the International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2017. Journal of Health and Pollution, Vol. 9, No. 24 (Dec. 2019). - URL:



link International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference 2019
link The Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE)
link Vereinigung Cockpit --- Flight Health & Environment (German Pilots Union)
     link Andere Veröffentlichungen deutsch (External Publications)
link Aerotoxic Logbook (ATLB) by Prof. Dr. Johannes Ludwig
link Aerotoxic Team
link Patienteninitiative – Contaminated Cabin Air deutsch a German initiative by Michael Kramer and Kerstin Konrad
link FlyAware a Dutch initiative
link Association des Victimes du Syndrome Aérotoxique französich a French initiative
link Ikaros: Non profit Foundation for Post Mortem Research of Prematurely Deceased Cockpit- & Cabin Crew Members and Airline Passengers
link Everybody Flies - Trailer

STAND:  08 July 2021
AUTHOR:  Prof. Dr. Scholz

home  Prof. Dr. Scholz
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