Global Aviation Safety Remains In Spotlight After Spate Of Airline Tragedies

Investigations Continue Following MH17, Air Algerie And TransAsia Crashes


Flight safety remains in the spotlight as investigations are continuing into the Malaysia Airlines MH17, Air Algerie, TransAsia plane crashes in which hundreds of passengers and crew tragically lost their lives.

A fortnight has now passed since the MH17 Boeing 777 came down in the Donetsk region of the Ukraine on July 17th killing 298 people. This incident happened just a few months after the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

This week, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) joined with other world aviation organisations to establish a task force composed of both state and industry experts to address the challenges created by threats from passenger planes to ground-based weaponry.

In addition, the organisation is to convene a conference in February 2015 of all of its member states to further discuss the safety and security of the global air transport system. International forensic experts have now reached the site of the MH17 tragedy in order to further examine the circumstances of the crash.

Investigations are now continuing into Air Algerie flight AH5017, a McDonnell Douglas Md-83, which crashed in Mali after taking off from Burkina Faso on Thursday (July 24th). All 118 people on board died and France is now taking the lead in the investigation.

Work is also ongoing in assessing the cause of the TransAsia Airways ATR 72-500 crash on July 23rd, in which 48 people died. The plane reportedly came down when attempting to land at Magong Airport on Penghu Island and the airline has stated that it is seeking approval from Taiwanese authorities to make changes to its standard operating procedures in relation to visibility requirements for take-off and landing and holding times while waiting for bad weather to clear.

Expert Opinion
Many questions remain unanswered regarding the circumstances of all three of these tragedies, each of which occurred within such a short period of time.

"These recent incidents have affected many hundreds of people around the World who lost their loved ones. They deserve answers regarding the cause of the tragedies and for justice to be done in the light of this terrible loss of life. It is vital that steps are taken to clearly identify the causes of each of these accidents and that measures are taken by the aviation authorities and the aviation industry to improve flight safety and prevent similar accidents from happening again.

"With respect to the ICAO task force established following the downing of MH17, it is to be hoped that one of the measures taken will be a review of the international rules concerning flights over countries in conflict, to ensure that there is a clear and consistent requirement to avoid over flying such airspace. The current rules allowed Malaysian Airlines to fly over the Ukraine when a number of other airlines were avoiding that area due to risk - this tragedy was completely avoidable and changes to the rules are needed to prevent this from happening again."
Jim Morris, Partner