Marko Tesselaar worked as an aircraft Maintenance Engineer for KLM for 35 years. In addition to his work, he gained experience in both internal KLM and external official negotiations through his activities for the NVLT union. With the knowledge and experience he acquired, he is a valuable addition to the Stichting Fly Aware team.
Marko: “For many years, I worked with great pleasure on those Airbuses and Boeings. First three years in the maintenance hangar and then on the platform. Aircraft were really a hobby for me. I traveled all over the world, worked with customers a lot, had all kinds of interesting assignments, and sometimes got my hands dirty fixing a broken plane. In 2013, I started experiencing vague symptoms and was very tired. To be able to continue working full-time, I also began working for the NVLT union as a Health & Safety Rep., something that had always caught my attention.
I had traveled to Africa a lot, so the initial investigation into my symptoms focused on tropical diseases. Then, I visited various other specialists, but unfortunately, no diagnosis was made. When an old KLM purser told me about Aerotoxic Syndrome, slowly, the realization came, especially after a visit to neurologist Hageman who recognized the symptoms. This was followed by a long period of trial and error, work adjustments, and ultimately complete incapacitation in 2020, with an abrupt end to my career in aviation and at the union.
From my role within the NVLT union, I participated in internal KLM negotiations, and in the National Cabin Air Quality Advisory Group of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, I participated in discussions about contaminated cabin air. This allowed me to build knowledge of the issues within this dialogue and also led me to get to know the Fly Aware Foundation.
After leaving KLM, I decided to use my expertise to assist and advise the Fly Aware Foundation and the GCAQE (Global Cabin Air Quality Executive) on technical matters and scientific research. Given my experience with the Aerotoxic dossier, this is where I can make a difference by addressing these design flaws in aircraft and their serious consequences. I also try to support people as much as possible in their search for answers to medical questions because unfortunately, they often run into medical barriers, just as I experienced.”