The move comes as pressure has mounted on the airline industry to tackle growing concerns over “toxic air”, which has been linked to several deaths of pilots and crew and hundreds of cases of ill health.
The service has been set up at St Thomas’ Hospital in London with the help of the Civil Aviation Authority, which has long denied claims of a link between cabin toxins and persistent ill health.
The clinic has been given responsibility for treating UK-based flight passengers and air crew with suspected short or long term respiratory, neurological and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Information about the service has been passed on to GPs. They will refer patients who previously had to pay for private treatment.
Campaigners supported by the Sunday Express say the clinic signifies the first official medical recognition of the problem, since the phrase “aerotoxic syndrome” was coined in 2000.
Nicola Barrell, of the Aerotoxic Association, said: “The opening of this clinic acknowledges the game is finally up by recognising at last long and short term medical symptoms are linked with toxic cabin air.”
Professor Paul Dargan, leading poisons expert of the clinic at St Thomas’s, believes there is still “scientific uncertainty” about longterm health consequences of cabin air poisoning.
But in a statement, he said: “The cabin air may be contaminated when an oil seal fails, allowing jet oil or hydraulic fl uid to leak into the air supplies.”
Matt Bass, 35, a flight attendant died in Slough, Berkshire, in 2014.
An inquest was told toxic organophosphates from jet oil, were discovered in his body. Former travel agent Samantha Sabatino, 45, of Hertfordshire, believes she and her daughter, 16, were poisoned by fumes on a flight from Gatwick to Florida in February 2007.
She said: “I welcome the news this clinic has opened for the sake of others suffering.”
Budget airline easyJet last month announced the fitting of fume filters to cabin air systems.
A CAA spokesman said: “We understand the concerns that have been raised about cabin air quality and we take very seriously any suggestions that people have suffered ill health from flying.”
For more information, visit www.aerotoxic.org.