KLM pilot signs contract promising not to speak about toxic fumes on planes: report

Former KLM pilot Willem Felderhof is forbidden to talk about toxic fumes onboard planes, and the health problems related to it, according to a KLM contract he signed when he left the airline, which Zembla has in its possession. Should he violate this contract, the pilot will have to repay his 300 thousand euros severance pay to the Dutch airline.

Felderhof suffers from headaches, equilibrium issues and slow reaction rates. According to his neurologist, he suffers from so-called aerotoxic syndrome, which he sustained in the aircraft cabin. 

The contract states that Elderhof is not allowed to talk about "his opinion, his vision and the air quality issues in KLM aircraft in connection with his health problems, working conditions and 'aerotoxic' syndrome", according to Zembla. It also states that third parties talking about this also constitutes a violation of the contract, specifically mentioning doctor and former KLM pilot Michel Mulder - whose been studying pilots falling ill from breathing toxic oil fumes on board for years. According to Mulder, KLM never took complaints from sick crew members, himself included, seriously.

KLM does not believe that there is a correlation between the pilot's health complaints and the cabin air. The Dutch government also does not recognize aerotoxic syndrome, though it did launch a study into the effects of toxic fumes on planes in 2013

The Dutch airline told Zembla that the settlement contract is intended to conclude an "ongoing discussion with an employee. It is common practice in many organizations to include a confidentiality clause in a termination agreement with an employee."


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