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25-09-2007
A long-haul flight triples your risk of DVT
By Nigel Hawkes
Long-haul flights roughly triple your risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis, according to a study.
In the first attempt to assess the absolute risks of air travel, a Dutch team surveyed 8,755 employees of international companies, with an average age of 40, to collect data about their patterns of travel and incidence of deep vein thrombosis.
They followed them up for more than four years, and recorded 53 thromboses, 22 within eight weeks of a long-haul flight.
Reporting in PLoS Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, they calculate that there was an incidence rate of 3.2 thromboses per 1,000 people per year in those who make long-haul flights, compared to 1 per 1,000 per year in those who do not.
The risk is small, one event per 4,656 long-haul flights. So small, in fact, that the authors, led by Frits Rosendaal, of Leiden University Medical Centre, say that it is not worth taking anticoagulant drugs, such as aspirin, to protect against it.
The risk of thromboses increased with exposure to more flights within a short period of time, and with increasing duration of flights. It was particularly high in people under 30, in women who used oral contraceptives, and in those who were particularly short, tall or overweight.
The incidence of thromboses was highest in the first two weeks after travel. In the population as a whole, the risk is likely to be higher because those studied were mostly young.
They conclude: “The results do not justify the use of potentially dangerous prophylaxis such as anticoagulant therapy for all long-haul air travellers, since this may do more harm than good.” However, prophylactic measures may benefit people in high-risk categories, they added.
Extracted from The Times, 25.9.07

22-09-2007
Aircraft safety compromised by bad maintenance practice
Poor aircraft maintenance practices may lead to “a major incident”, aircraft engineer groups have warned. Between 2004 and 2006 there were 1,700 maintenance failings or non-compliance with regulations within Europe, the Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers (Alae) said at its annual conference in London yesterday. Examples include planes being signed off as fit to fly by maintenance staff who are not properly qualified, said the Aircraft Engineers International (AEI) group. The AEI said the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa) should be monitoring the situation but its power is being diluted by the EU. “There is a lack of enforcement,” it said. “The EU has no problem placing foreign airlines on a blacklist, yet fails completely to manage those European airlines under its control by way of Easa.”

Extracted from The Independent, Saturday 22 September 2007

21-09-2007
Passengers stranded on planes find a voice
By Jeff Bailey
Like thousands of American Airlines passengers last Dec. 29, Kate Hanni and her family were stuck aboard a jet for hours out on the tarmac. They were hungry, bored, angry and, in the case of Flight 1348, sick from the smell wafting through the cabin from the lavatories.
When the ordeal finally ended, some passengers from the 67 separate American flights - which each spent at least three hours stranded - e-mailed or called in their complaints to the airline. Some vented on blogs. Most grumbled and went about their business. And the airline industry thought it would, too.
Hanni, who said she had never before written a letter of complaint, decided she would get a law passed making lengthy confinement on an airplane illegal. "I was fuming," she said. "It was imprisonment."

17-09-2007
CEO interview: How to fix Heathrow
BY Roger Blitz
Mark Bullock remembers a couple of horrendous flying experiences. On a holiday, he was stuck in Geneva airport for eight hours – “nowhere to sit, nowhere to shop, nothing to do apart from sit on the floor, being bored and wishing I wasn’t there”. On another holiday flight to the US, his young children were faced with an in-flight choice of curry or nothing.

13-09-2007
Flying - carbon aside
Business of Green by James Kanter
Flying – carbon aside
The Camp for Climate Action this summer on the perimeter of London Heathrow Airport provided the strongest evidence yet that air travel is becoming a lightning rod for anger over global warming.
There were more than 70 arrests over several days, while hundreds of protesters blocked buildings owned by BAA, the operator of the airport. They wanted to demonstrate their opposition to expansion of the airport, already one of the world\'s busiest. British newspapers and television gave the events extensive coverage, a reflection, perhaps, of readers\' appetites for stories about climate change.

24-08-2007
Necessary evils: The better airports
Frequent Traveller
Roger Collis
Airports are terminal misery, the slowest common denominator in air travel for most people these days. Airports distill all that is frustrating, and infuriating, in modern life, and present it to us relentlessly. Airports may be gateways to hell, but some serve it up better (or worse) than others.



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