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Point Blank with Asian Weekly 9th January 2015

16 Jan
Flight Safety Image Courtesy Tripathi.Com

Flight Safety Image Courtesy Tripathi.Com

When did life become so cheap? The holidaymakers travelling from Surabaya to Singapore on board AirAsia Flight QZ8501 on 28th December had no idea this was their last flight ever. After the flight lost contact immediate rescue efforts began in the Java Sea but it was not until two days later that they learnt of its crash into the sea and started to recover debris and bodies.

Sure, bad weather conditions prompted the Captain to seek permission to fly higher altitude and perhaps the judgment was wrong. The black box will reveal as many truths as possible. Meanwhile AirAsia has to answer to the Indonesia Transport Ministry of why it was flying on this route without a license. According to the Indonesia Transport Ministry, AirAsia was not allowed to fly this route on Sundays and there had been no change to the schedule.

The aviation industry has seen many disasters including the most shocking one, the disappearance of flight MH370 on 8th March 2014. But where does the problem lie?

With so much advancement in technological intelligence, how is it possible for an aircraft to go missing, not detect better weather conditions, or prevent a terrorist attack? Airports are bombarded with security checks, aircrafts are stuffed with a la carte menus and entertainment gigs, but who is watching the regular flight plan, the background check on the pilot, crew or the airline for that matter. If AirAsia hadn’t flown that Sunday, how many people would have been alive today? The greed for commercial competitiveness seems to be hindering investment into better tracking for the aircrafts.

Sadly a GPS tracking cannot suffice. There is no perfect solution, for example in the case of the MH370 there was no distress call, which means the pilot and the crew are very crucial to activate any tracking device. There is also a slowdown due to bureaucracy since the UN agency International Civil Aviation Organisation, that sets global aviation standards requires consensus from its 191 member states. This could take years.

A simple start can be in the human side of the equation. After the September 2001, the International Transporters Workers’ Federation Civil Aviation Society in London conducted a survey to detect stress, fatigue and burnout as serious components of inefficiency in their work upon the 60th anniversary of ITF in 2007. Since then much has not changed, especially because the conclusion was that, “One thing emerged from this study as absolutely clear: the conditions of labour need to be improved, and improved significantly, both for workers and for public safety.”

The list of missing planes grows, however mankind is known to have solved many problems, maybe this one is on the way.

Keep up to date on the latest on Air Asia Flight on http://qz8501.airasia.com/index.html

Keep up to date on MH370 on http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/hq/en/highlights.html

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Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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