Airlines issue new seatbelt rules after Brit dies following 'extreme turbulence'

Airlines are issuing new seatbelt guidance after a spate of turbulence wreaked havoc on flights globally last month. Carriers are toughening up safety instructions in the wake of a British man’s death after severe turbulence hit a Singapore Airlines flight.

Sir Tim Clark, president of the airline Emirates, told The Times : "We’ve had our own fair share of issues. Not as bad as Singapore Airlines, but let’s be quite honest, it’s a real race and the whole industry is now upping in the game with regard to making sure that passengers are strapped in. We are looking at all the protocols."

Virgin Atlantic told the publication: "The health, safety and security of our customers and people is always our top priority. We keep our policies under constant review and take all industry occurrences into consideration to continuously strengthen our safety management approach."

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The Singapore Airlines flight hit by severe turbulence last week dropped 54 metres in altitude in less than five seconds, preliminary findings from an investigation show. A 73-year-old British passenger died of a suspected heart attack and dozens of people were injured after flight SQ321 from London to Singapore encountered turbulence while flying over Myanmar.

“The aircraft experienced a rapid change in G (gravitational force) … This likely resulted in the occupants who were not belted up to become airborne,” Singapore’s transport ministry said in a statement on a report by the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau.

“The vertical acceleration changed from negative 1.5G to positive 1.5G within 4 seconds. This likely resulted in the occupants who were airborne to fall back down,” it said, citing information extracted from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

“The rapid changes in G over the 4.6 seconds duration resulted in an altitude drop of 178ft (54m), from 37,362ft to 37,184ft. This sequence of events likely caused the injuries to the crew and passengers.”