New anti-terror measures make toilets the most dangerous place on planes, unions say

New anti-terrorist measures have made toilets the most dangerous place on passenger planes, trade unions warned today.

From next week Air France will remove all oxygen cannisters from WCs on all A320 aircraft and three Airbus A340s because of fears that they can be turned into bombs.

The decision was made by France’s Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) following advice from the United States.

But the national pilots’ union SNPL (Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne) fears that anyone using an airline toilet will be liable to serious illness if the plane suddenly depressurises.

‘Without emergency oxygen anyone could suffer burst eardrums and hearing problems, and indeed pass out,’ said Captain Louis Jobard, the union’s spokesman.

Cap. Jobard said that pilots using the toilet would also be at risk from a sudden loss of pressure – meaning a co pilot would have to cope with an emergency alone.

At the normal cruising height of around 35,000ft, crew or passengers would black out in five seconds.

It would take between four and 10 minutes for the plane to descend to where there was breathable air at 14,000ft, said Cap. Jobard.

Over the past eight months there have been 19 incidents of sudden decompression in Europe.

France is currently on a high state of security alert following bomb warnings from a number of terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda.

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