Call For Action Over Third Ryanair Cabin Pressure Incident In Seven Months

Passengers Treated By Medical Staff After Madrid Flight Forced To Turn Back

24.09.2012

Legal experts representing passengers hurt when a Ryanair flight to East Midlands Airport suffered cabin pressure problems in April are calling for action after another Boeing 737 operated by the airline became the third this year to suffer similar issues while travelling from Madrid.

The plane, which was set to fly from the Spanish capital to the Canary Islands, was forced to turn back around an hour after setting off on September 7th when depressurisation problems were detected onboard.

Passengers were subsequently offered seats on another flight, while reports have also suggested that 16 people were treated by medical staff.

The incident is the latest of three cabin pressure incidents seen on Ryanair Boeing 737 flights in 2012, with the first occurring in February when a flight from Milan Bergamo to Brussels Charleroi was forced to make an emergency descent following rapid decompression of the aircraft.

A further incident occurred in April, when a flight from Bergamo to East Midlands Airport was forced to make an emergency descent of around 20,000 ft due to the loss of cabin pressure. An interim report revealed that a problem with a pressure controller, as well as a design and maintenance error on the backup controller, were behind the problems.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist aviation law team, which represents several passengers and are receiving a growing number of enquiries from others affected by the problems on the April flight, have called for urgent action following the latest problems.

Jim Morris, a former Boeing pilot and Partner in the Irwin Mitchell aviation team, said: “Reports of the latest incident on the flight from Madrid are very concerning and, as well as seeing problems on Ryanair flights, there has also been a further cabin pressurisation issue on a Monarch 737 too.

“To see such a significant number of potentially serious pressurisation problems occur in such a short space of time is clearly a major concern and something that obviously needs to be fully examined.

“The interim report into the Bergamo to East Midlands incident in April has made recommendations in an effort to improve flight safety and we hope that the measures are taken by Boeing and the airlines to prevent similar incidents from re-occurring.

“It must be remembered that depressurisation is a serious emergency that requires immediate and correct application of the emergency procedures.  Without cabin pressurisation at 30,000 feet, passengers and crew can quickly become unconscious if they do not don their oxygen masks, hence a requirement of the emergency is the rapid descent to 10,000 feet where the air is breathable.

“In addition to the immediate dangers of lack of oxygen and performing a dramatic manoeuvre with a heavy airliner, this type of emergency can cause long-term health issues for those affected, including hearing problems and post traumatic stress, which may only become clear over time. For the sake of all of those involved in these recent incidents, lessons simply must be learned.”