MH 370, MH 17, Air Algerie, TransAsia . . . . Four airline disasters. Hundreds of people dead, but few answers.
MH 370 has still not been found and, other than speculation, little is known.
MH 17 was, by all accounts, shot down. But, despite the international outrage, there has been little or no investigation and an inept, barbaric treatment of the victims, as well as the wreckage, which apparently has been ransacked on the site, with little or no security being provided.
TransAsia and Air Algerie, both in the formative stages of the investigation process, have been the subject of nothing more than speculation about weather, training and, in the case of Air Algerie, even hostilities on the ground.
We know that with the rash of airline disasters (at least one of them, MH 17, appears not to have been an accident, which connotes negligence, but rather a criminal act), it is virtually impossible to resist engaging in all manner of speculation. We were, however, somewhat disappointed when one of our favorite aviation reporters for a 24 hour news network, talking about Air Algerie, suggested the cause was an encounter with severe weather by pilots who weren’t properly trained. The allegation was also made that the company put profit over safety in that their procedures did not allow for enough safety margin when flying in the area of weather to save fuel and money.
We don’t know how to say it other than call it what it is, namely, irresponsible speculation. It’s certainly appropriate for any reporter to talk about the various areas under investigation, but to conclude, days after an accident, what the cause is, absent it being patently obvious, isn’t even very good reporting. We suspect there are far too many viewers of this news network who now believe that what this reporter said is, in fact, what occurred.
We continue to question whether, even assuming MH 370 is found, we will ever know what happened. We have no doubt that, even with the travesty occurring at the wreckage site in Ukraine, there will ultimately be a meaningful accident report, as there will be with Air Algerie and TransAsia. In the meantime, the news networks have plenty to fill their airtime without engaging in destructive speculation which is neither helpful, nor contributing to the investigation.
We’re also disappointed in ICAO. As related to MH 17 they should be forcefully stepping out in front and both demanding and leading an international accident investigation. ICAO Annex 13 has, for, all intents and purposes been largely ignored. Sound accident investigation protocol hasn’t been present. Humanitarian concerns have been trampled upon.
If ICAO doesn’t step up, the UN ought to get out of the international aviation business and go back to the drawing board.
(Originally posted July 25, 2014)