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Tuesday, 5 November 1985
Page: 1595

(Question No. 105)

Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 20 March 1985:

Are airline passengers required to store their cabin luggage beneath the seat in front of them; if so, (a) what is the origin and status of such a requirement, and (b) when did such a requirement come into force.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Yes. Airline operating procedures require passengers to stow or have their luggage stored in accordance with the approved stowage procedures. The present approved areas for stowage as listed in the Air Navigation Orders are:

under a passenger seat;

in overhead lockers; or

in other lockers designed for the purpose.

(a) The requirement contained in the Air Navigation Orders for the safe stowage of loose articles has been in force for some years. It was introduced as a result of overseas accident experience. This showed that many deaths and injuries occurred in otherwise survivable accidents as a result of loose articles flying around the cabin or due to egress of survivors being impeded by those articles blocking escape routes. In Australia during the seven year period to 1985 Australian airlines experienced 35 incidents involving unexpected turbulence in which people were injured. Whether the injuries resulted from contact with loose objects or the aircraft structure is not recorded, however, during turbulence any loose object is a potential hazard and the requirement for safe stowage of cabin baggage is intended to reduce that hazard to passengers.

(b) The space under a passenger seat has been an approved stowage area since August 1979 following development of revised design standards for passenger seats at that time.