Friday, July 18, 2014

MH17: what to think?

I can't believe what I was reading last night when I read that a Malaysian passenger plane had crashed in Ukraine in rebel controlled territory. I thought to myself who else can it be except an MH plane. My worst fears were confirmed as news updates arrived. As usual The Daily Mail took a risk and beat others passing off speculation as news, but I get the feeling given the narrow number of possibilities they were probably near the mark: MH17 was downed by a missile.

Why was the airliner flying over airspace known to have been downing military planes I thought? That was just plain reckless and dumb. I had to wait till the morning to learn the dumb reason which came from PM Najib.

The PM claimed MH17 was overflying in airspace sanctioned by international aviation authorities to be safe. Well the results spoke for itself how safe it was.

The problem with the Malaysians is that they still have not learned to take responsibility. Just because experts say so you could transfer the responsibility of safety to them? You and not them were assuming the risk. Running an airline, flying a B777 loaded with passengers you cannot act like typical clueless investors who punt the markets on the advice of experts or authorities. You have to know and be sure.

With this disaster Malaysia Air is finished. They can close shop.

Update: 9:50am

In 2000 on my sister's birthday, I was very angry with the Taiwanese substandard management of their runaway leading to the crash of our 747. But years later when I watched Air Crash Investigation of that tragedy, I concluded it was ultimately SQ and the pilots responsibility to make sure they know they were on the right runway even if the airport authorities had failed to do their part. If the environment had made it difficult to make sure, taking responsibility means you have to find another way to be sure.

When I was younger, I got angry with inconsiderate and reckless motorists on our roads. For sometime now, my attitude has changed and adapted to our more challenging road conditions. When driving I no longer care who is in the right, I just want to avoid an accident.

IATA and ICAO might have suggested it was safe to overfly those territories but all airlines and their pilots must understand the thinking and insight behind the advisory. The mistake will not be borne by the two international organizations but your aircraft and its passengers. Already the separatists have a habit of shooting down Ukrainian military planes and yet red lights weren't flashing?

Of all airlines, Malaysia Air is the single airline that can least afford another disaster. They might put the blame of others and their bad luck but customers will think you are jinxed and avoid you. They will have to start all over to build a new airline with a new name and brand. The Malaysians will discover it is cheaper that way.

Update: 11:25 am

Many airlines decided despite ICAO advice that it is safe to overfly the conflict region, it is best to avoid it altogether. Why didn't Malaysia Airlines also do the same? The company was blindly following experts. They have never learned to look after themselves and their customers first.

Update: 11:45 am

Someone from SQ gotta to explain why was one of the planes also there. Never learn from the incident in Taiwan eh? Throwing caution to the wind? Trying to save money taking a more direct route never mind the risk? If anything goes wrong blame ICAO and IATA?

Look at the stupid remarks from Vivian Balakrishnan. "It could have been anyone of us". How could he think that way!

Update: 12:30 pm

Oh, I would read that SQ was using risky Ukraine airspace which it didn't know was so dangerous until MH17 was shot down and now has been rightly frightened to stay clear of that area? I would have thought like so many airlines you should have stayed far far away from it otherwise it just make a mockery the super safe safety systems of commercial flying! You are as strong as the weakest link isn't it?

Link to CNA report.

Update: 3:45pm

Pro Russian rebels telephone conversation over the shot down MH17. Guilty as hell but had they known it was an MH plane, they might not have targeted it.

The Russians and the separatists have very low operational standards and professionalism.


  1. I think you're overly harsh on MAS here. Many airlines had continued to fly over Eastern Ukraine, including major airlines. The only applicable directive issued by US FAO and Europe authority is avoid Crimea airspace.

    This post ( shows that in fact, Singapore Airlines SQ351 (B777) and Air India AI113 (B787) were about 25 km from #MH17 when it disappeared. Sometimes, its a matter of luck.

    1. Thanks and I think more than a few would share your sentiment but I want to ask fliers to think if they were not taking unnecessary risks. It is not like you are beyond missile range eh? At the end of the day, an appropriate sense of realism is more important. 298 lives were lost this time. Keep up the habit and we might lose even more lives. I think people ought to be harsher! Everything about the B777 and the systems supporting it is so super safe until you fly near there. If I may, it was sheer foolishness to tempt luck.

  2. For the sake of corporate profits, our respectable airline also chose to take the dangerous route at the expense of its passengers. Just because none of its planes got shot down, does it mean it is absolved from any blame? Just like trying to play russian roulette with a gun!!

  3. Interesting article from Bloomberg tells a lot indeed -

    Qantas hasn’t been using that route for a few months, said Andrew McGinnes, a spokesman for the Australian carrier, while Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. (293) said it hasn’t been flying over the area for “quite some time.” Singapore Airlines Ltd. said it’s “no longer using Ukrainian airspace.”
    ... Among other Asia-Pacific carriers, Korean Air Lines Co. (003490) and Asiana Airlines Inc. (020560) avoided the area since March 3, the two South Korean companies said in e-mailed statements. Air New Zealand Ltd., PT Garuda Indonesia, All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. said they aren’t flying over Ukraine. Philippine Airlines Inc. said it avoids “that war zone.”
    ... Singapore Air (SIA) didn’t say if it was flying the route until yesterday’s crash. Its latest comment that it’s no longer traversing the airspace was a revision of an earlier statement that said its flights aren’t flying over that area.

    Sadly, why Singapore Airlines didn't take the initiative to avoid flying the area? Until something happened!

  4. two interesting pieces worth pondering over

  5. to sum it up

    ur life is cheap

    no more social responsibility

    only farkin profit

    ah.. the beauty of the rats

  6. History may repeat - but only time will tell

    U.S. Government Lied to Pretend that Accidental Russian Shootdown of Commercial Plane Was Intentional … Three Decades Ago

  7. Ukraine's Security Service Has Confiscated Air Traffic Control Recordings With Malaysian Jet

    BBC reports "Ukraine's SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency."

    What happens to the recordings next is completely unknown. What is known is that any hope of getting an undoctored explanation why the plane flew as it did, or what the pilots may have seen or said in the moments before the explosion, is forever gone.

    It also means that any hope of actually working with facts instead of emotional appeals, and getting to the bottom of the Malaysian airline tragedy, resides in what may be recorded by the black box, whose location right now is now exactly clear.

    In other words, even more fact-free confusion and speculation which is just what a propaganda-based reporting system needs.

    And so, just like in the case of flight MH-370, what actually happened with MH-17 may never be known

    (well said .

  8. So who's at fault?

    Ukraine Possessed the Type of Missile System Which Shot Down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17

    and who's making money out of the disaster
    MH17: For Bankers, Every Crisis and Tragedy is an Opportunity to Manufacture Profits

  9. Russia Says Has Photos Of Ukraine Deploying BUK Missiles In East, Radar Proof Of Warplanes In MH17 Vicinity

    What the Media Won’t Report About Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

    and guess what
    Malaysia Airlines flight over war-torn Syria draws fresh criticism