Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crash and Burn

As if the woes facing the airline industry are not enough, we now have one of India's worst air crashes since over a decade to add to the list of issues. It is more like the recession of 2008. Bear Stearns went down, followed by Lehman, and then a whole slew of institutions went belly up. And just as the world was trying to emerge out of the turmoil thanks to a cartload of bailout packages and hand holding, Dubai screamed out for help. Then Greece, which threatened to set the world on fire!

What is really sinister is the fact that there was yet another crash in Libya on the 12th of May, hardly 10 days back. Again a crash at Tripoli, soon after landing. Last seen, there still was no clear idea of why the crash happened. And now again, at Managlore, just after touchdown. Some ideas being floated are that the aircraft's tyre burst, the plane hit a pole, broke, and skidded into a ravine. But the real cause is still unknown.

The discussions and theories abound. People blame the pilot. They give ideas on what else could have been done. Like he could have just taken off again, circled and come back. Why didn't he do that? No one knows what happened in those last few minutes before the crash, and it is quite stupefying, since the pilot was indeed a very experienced captain, and errors are typically not expected of such experienced pilots. The question still remains.

But in the interim, what will ensue is a dirty blame game, with the airline blaming amenities, ministries blaming airlines, victims' families blaming everyone. The solution? Well, one must realize that while embarking on a journey in the high skies, you must be ready for the worst consequence. No one would crash a plane on purpose and so, perhaps any underlying issue would need to be looked at. Are the pilots' working conditions not conducive to their composure while flying? Are they being stressed out? Can any other precautions be taken in such airports that are on top of ravines, or abutting sea coasts, like say in case of Vizag and Goa? A lot perhaps needs to be done, and unless some clear steps are taken, I am sure the airline industry would be staring in the face of several more controversies that sure do not help its prospects!

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