Gabor Lukacs calls for TSB to release details on emergency landing

An air passenger rights advocate is calling on the Transportation Safety Board to release more information about a Porter Airlines flight travelling between Halifax and St. John's that made an emergency landing in Sydney earlier this week.

Gabor Lukacs says it may be time to consider whether all planes should contain oxygen masks

The passenger has made an emergency landing Monday afternoon after smoke began to fill the cabin of the plane. (Don McDonald/Submitted)

An air passenger rights advocate is calling on the Transportation Safety Board to release more information about a Porter Airlines flight that made an emergency landing in Sydney earlier this week.

The Q400 plane was travelling from Halifax to St. John's when the cabin began to fill with smoke.

None of the 68 people on board were injured when it was diverted to the JA Douglas McCurdy Airport in Cape Breton. 

Last week, a spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board told CBC News it has decided not to conduct a full investigation after interviewing the pilot and plane manufacturer. 

Officials say the board will not be releasing any further information. 

'Public has the right to know'

But air passenger advocate Gabor Lukacs says people should be able to review a report on the investigation. 

"That's absolutely appalling. When it comes to safety matters, the public has the right to know," he said. 

Some passengers have questioned why the plane didn't didn't contain oxygen masks.

Consumer advocate and frequent flier Gabor Lukacs says people should be able to review a report on the investigation. (CBC)

They say flight attendants instructed passengers to cover their mouths with fabric taken from the back of their seats.

Porter told CBC masks aren't required on a plane that size.

Lukacs says even though oxygen marks aren't mandatory up to 25,000 feet, they are a basic piece of equipment to ensure passenger safety.

He said they can help people deal with smoke in cases where cabin pressure hasn't dropped.

"If the plane had oxygen marks, passengers would have had a completely different experience," he said. 

Passengers question need for oxygen masks

Not all passengers agree. 

Leila Asfour says about 30 minutes into the flight, a passenger knew there was a problem and smoke started getting thick.

"You could smell the noxious fumes," she said. "We were instructed initially to cover our nose and mouth and breathe through either our shirts or some clothing that we may have had."

Asfour says she used the fabric cover from her seat and wasn't expecting an oxygen mask because she knew they are used during a change in cabin pressure, which the plane wasn't experiencing. 

"It wouldn't make me feel safer necessarily," she said. "We weren't being choked out of oxygen."

Lukacs says many safety features on aircraft used to be optional. He says it shouldn't take a tragedy to review whether airlines should be required to have drop-down oxygen masks. 

"Legally, they may well be right, but perhaps it's time to change the regulations."

68 people were on board the flight, including crew, when it landed in Sydney. Police, firefighters and ambulances were called to the airport. (Don McDonald/Submitted)

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