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Jakarta Post

Your letters: Should we still trust aviation safety?

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Thu, March 27, 2014   /  10:49 am

While the questions surrounding what precisely occurred to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 continue to baffle everyone '€” from aviation authorities and rescue services to the relatives and friends of the passengers on board '€” much of the news that has appeared on the tragedy has been profoundly disturbing because of its likely implications for the aviation industry in general.      

It can be said that aviation security has changed since 9/11 '€” and for good reason.

The deadly ingenuity of a few extremists revealed a vulnerability that cost the lives of thousands of individuals. Further efforts to exploit much the same feebleness are the primary factor why passengers can no longer take any more than tiny amounts of liquid on board flights and, in some parts of the world, are required to have their footwear searched before being permitted to enter the plane.

 Essentially, passengers withstand these strictures with a weary compliance, conforming to it and recognizing it as much a part of contemporary aviation as jetlag '€” the price of remaining safe.

And when the news that MH370 had gone missing first appeared, a large number of regular passengers, including myself, would have expected the flight'€™s progress to have been carefully tracked in order for the passengers to be accurately located. We would also have never doubted that no traveler would have got on board without having his or her identification verified and passport checked.

All this provides an explanation of why it was very disturbing to hear that little tracking was conducted, leaving the aviation investigation team to be dubious about whether the plane might have crashed in the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, or even, as some predict, the Malacca Strait, creating a gigantic search area.

That response was aggravated by the recent stories that two of the travelers on board had Austrian and Italian passports that had been apparently stolen long before, but the validity of which were not verified during the routine check-in procedure in Kuala Lumpur.

When all the questions surrounding MH370 are answered, many lessons need to be learnt to avoid repeating the same
mistake.

Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat
Doha, Qatar

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