Friday, 18 July 2014

Flight MH17 decisions: wait till vested interests stop shouting

The outrage [shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine] immediately raised questions over why commercial flights were using a region where attacks on aircraft have been rife.

These words from the Telegraph form the most succinct explanation, I think, as to why Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 came to grief in such a terrible tragedy. The article says, earlier, that "aviation safety authorities in the United States and Europe warned pilots in April about potential risks flying in or near Ukraine airspace". The paper now reports other Asian airlines "had already abandoned [flying over Ukraine] months ago because of security concerns".

Regarding concerns, an International Civil Aviation Organisation website document ostensibly praises Ukrainian Air Traffic Controllers for picking up English language skills, but then expresses concern that:

Learning language is a long and costing business…[and] Lack of resources does not allow to invite native speaking teachers and instructors to train aviation personnel, to purchase necessary equipment for…training, to organize recurrent training of teachers, instructors, raters and examiners abroad.

Considering airline fuel is expensive, and the Malaysian government was found in investigations into the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 to be a major shareholder in the debt-stricken airline, and one can understand their pilots being pressured to fly over Ukraine.

Ultimately, did Putin order the plane shot down? I don’t know, but the picture gets more complex the more you examine it. And I wonder how long conspiracy-theory sites will take to notice that the US, the UK and the EU could all do with attention taken off their internal affairs, or even that it might not be beyond the abilities of Jihadis to down the flight and blame it on an Israeli attention-diversion exercise?

I have my own theory – that it’s always better to wait for vested interests to stop shouting before making decisions with long-lasting consequences.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

Air operators belatedly avoid Ukraine war zone - Tom Whitehead, Nick Collins and Martin Whitehead, Daily Telegraph, 17 July 2014

Asian airlines stopped flying over Ukraine months ago - AFP, Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2014

Challenges in implementing Language Proficiency Requirements in Ukraine - International Civil Aviation Authority; statement made on p12 of pdf. 2003 mentioned in document, but date of its publication not apparent

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