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Mon 1 Mar 2004 04:00 AM

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EK cameras draw complaints

Emirates is in trouble with the residents of an English village, who claim that cameras fitted on the underside of the carriers’ aircraft invade their privacy.

Emirates is in trouble with the residents of an English village, who claim that cameras fitted on the underside of the carriers’ aircraft invade their privacy. Residents of Dormansland, Surrey, which lies beneath the approach to London Gatwick, have complained that Emirates’ inflight entertainment is as intrusive as a neighbour installing a video camera over their garden fence.

The village’s parish council has asked Emirates to stop filming during its approaches, but the carrier says that the filming gives the same view as if someone looked out of the window. "Do people in Dormansland want everyone to close the blinds?" an EK spokeswoman asked the BBC.

While expressing her regret for any concern, the spokeswoman went on to try to ally residents’ fears, noting that the cameras, which offer a bird’s eye view that can be watched on passengers’ seat-back screens, were static, unmagnified and that passengers could not zoom in or out.

"It is part of the in-flight entertainment and for passengers it is one of the most popular things," the spokeswoman said. "At night, you see the runway and the lights and at 35,000 ft over the Alps, it's spectacular."

However, the residents of Dormansland complain that they have recognised their own gardens while flying with Emirates. "If your neighbour put a camera on the fence and filmed you, that would be an invasion of privacy,” said Parish council chairman Jane Voght.

"It doesn't matter what you're doing in your back garden or in your home - it's not for airlines to dictate."

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