The aviation industry is by far the most efficient global distribution network of contagious diseases. Yet airlines are avoiding the issue of risk and liability when passengers become ill or die from viruses caught while flying, according to Michael Peters from the Australian School of Business at UNSW.
The regulation of air quality within aircraft is inconsistent worldwide even though most airline insurance policies require compliance with World Health Organisation policies. However the reality is very different in law and fact, argues Peters in an opinion piece published on ABC Online.
A traveller is confined in an aluminium tube with slowly circulating and replenished air shared by up to three or four hundred people.
The air filters are not designed at the hospital standards, nor is fresh air pumped in at such regular intervals to minimise the circulation of colds, coughs and other respiratory infections.
The reality is that the law, through its silence, and the policy position of the airlines recognise that air travel is prone to these high-risk situations.
It could be that a traveller who knowingly travels with a contagious disease could be liable in torts, rather than the airline allowing the passenger on the flight in the first instance.
In short, air travellers, travel at their own risk.
Read the full piece at ABC Online.
Michael Peters is a business law lecturer at the Australian School of Business at UNSW.