Air travel still safe – experts

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The photo above shows the Daher family who were aboard the Air Algerie plane that crashed over Mali late on Thursday. The relatives of the family were awaiting news of their loved ones at their home in the southern Lebanese village of Srifa, also late on Thursday. France’s interior minister said on Friday the wreckage of the jet was found in Mali near the Burkina Faso border. The death toll from the crash was 116. AFP PHOTO

The photo above shows the Daher family who were aboard the Air Algerie plane that crashed over Mali late on Thursday. The relatives of the family were awaiting news of their loved ones at their home in the southern Lebanese village of Srifa, also late on Thursday. France’s interior minister said on Friday the wreckage of the jet was found in Mali near the Burkina Faso border. The death toll from the crash was 116. AFP PHOTO

The crash of a TransAsia Airways turboprop in Taiwan comes six days after the tragedy July 17 involving Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

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Then, one week after the tragedy of MH 17, an Air Alegerie jet carrying 116 passengers disappeared while en route to Algiers from Burkina Faso. At this time, no one knows what happened to that plane.

Although the crashes may have come a few days apart, industry experts say that’s nothing more than a coincidence.

“Air travel remains safe,” Henry Harteveldt, aviation and travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco, said on Thursday after the TransAsia crash.

For its part, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Friday it will “leave nothing unturned” to boost global aviation safety after a black week for the industry that has claimed over 460 lives in three separate crashes.

“The facts show it is safer than any other form of transportation,” Harteveldt said.

“Unfortunately, we just had two terrible, unrelated aviation accidents occur,” Harteveldt said, adding: “Obviously, the Malaysian plane was shot out of the sky, and the TransAsia incident was an incident where the airplane crashed in bad weather. These are two unrelated events.”

On Friday, Harteveldt called the Air Alegerie disappearance another “unfortunate coincidence,” noting reports of bad weather around the crash.

Jon Beatty, Flight Safety Foundation president and chief executive officer, agreed.

“Commercial aviation has reached incredible levels of safety in the past decades, but we still see occasional accidents or incidents such as these,” Beatty said.

“These are tragedies, but commercial aviation is still extremely safe,” he added.

Though crashes of commercial passenger planes have become rare, it’s not unprecedented for them to occur within a short time period.

Two commercial passenger planes crashed within days of each other in December 2012. A Fokker 100 flying for Burma-based Air Bagan crash-landed in Burma, also known as Myanmar, on December 25, killing one passenger and a person on the ground, according to http://avherald.com The Aviation Herald.

On December 29, a repositioning flight on a Tupelov Tu-204 flying for Russian carrier Red Wings Airlines overran a runway in Moscow. Five of the eight crewmembers were killed, according http://rt.com/news/moscow-plane-crash-video-095/ RT.com.

Passenger planes flying regularly scheduled airline flights crashed within the same week in 2011. A flight for Hewa Bora Airways, based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, http://avherald.com crashed in that country on July 8. On July 11, a flight on Russian carrier Angara Airlines ditched in Russia’s Ob River after an engine caught fire, http://avherald.com” The Aviation Herald http://avherald.com on July 16, a flight on Brazilian carrier Noar Linhas Aereas crashed after takeoff from Recife.

Iata to act
“With three tragedies in such quick succession, many people will, understandably, be asking questions about aviation safety,” Tony Tyler, the head of the global airline federation, said in a statement.

“The greatest respect that we can pay to the memory of those involved is to leave nothing unturned in our quest to understand the cause and to take steps to ensure that it is not repeated,” he said.

“Our number one priority is safety. And despite the events of the past seven days, flying is safe,” Tyler added.

He said the number of fatalities from aviation incidents this year had surpassed the 210 deaths seen last year.

“But even so, getting on an aircraft is still among the safest activities that one can do,” he said.

IATA represents 240 airlines around the world that account for 84 percent of total air traffic.

MCT AND AFP

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