Sir - In your editorial "Filling the gap" (Flight International, 10-16 January) you place great emphasis on the ability of Airbus Industrie to "...create a world-bearing product-line, with world-beating technology".

While it may be able to create advanced airliners, Airbus appears to have little or no consideration for the needs of those who operate the aircraft.

Much has been said about the pros and cons of the side-stick as opposed to the control column, and the fixed-position throttles as opposed to moving ones, but a conclusion may never be reached on these issues.

On the issue of flight deck humidification, however - an issue on which there is universal agreement among pilots and the medical profession on the adverse physiological effects of dry air on the human body - Airbus clearly lags behind Boeing. The option of humidifiers on the flight deck (where humidity levels can reach close to 0% after only 3h of flight) is available on the Boeing 747, but not on the Airbus A340.

Pilots living in the tropics, where relative humidity is high, will continue to dread those long-range airliners without the option for flight deck humidification. Airlines from this region have, and will continue to be, major purchasers of long range airliners. It would certainly be in Airbus' interests to consider seriously the needs of these pilots, who may have to fly its "creation with world-beating technology".


Vice-president (technical)

Air Line Pilots Association


747 humidifier option, can ease tropical flying

Source: Flight International