Friday, July 18, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17

Questions are being asked and denials, not to mention excuses, are being issued left and right concerning the latest disaster to hit Malaysia Airlines.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that somebody shot the Boeing 777 down. The Russians are blaming the Ukrainians and the Ukrainians are blaming both the separatists who control much of eastern Ukraine and their Russian sponsors.

The rebel's main argument is they don't have the weaponry to bring down a plane flying at 33,000 feet. It would seem to be a reasonable assertion. The only problem with it is Flight MH-17 was downed in an area where they're running the show and they've been busily shooting at Ukrainian aircraft for the past few weeks. The truth is it's highly doubtful either side will come clean in this nightmare, so the world will be stuck with yet another mystery about who and why.

Perhaps the most important question to be asked, besides who did it, is why was a Malaysia Airlines jumbo jet loaded with 298 souls flying over a war zone to begin with? Was the management of the company so concerned with added fuel costs and extended flying times they put their passengers and aircraft at risk? Reuters quoted the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak as saying, "The International Air Transportation Association has stated that the air space the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions."

That little song and dance will certainly be of comfort to the families of the victims. Especially since Korean Air, Asiana, Quantas, Cathay Pacific, and Pakistan International all stopped flying over the same air space months ago out of concerns something like this might happen.

Australian air safety expert, Geoff Dell put it this way when told of jet's route, "I find it astonishing. I'm absolutely flabbergasted." Of course not everyone had taken his assessment of the situation to heart, at least not until the news broke yesterday. Air India, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Air China, and China Eastern Airways were all flying similar routes. Now they are assuring everyone they will be avoiding the area in the forseeable future.

Good choice. Customer relations tend to suffer when your planes get shot down by rogue anti aircraft crews because they're too stupid to know the difference between military troop transports and clearly marked passenger jets.

The flight originated in Amsterdam and carried 192 Dutch passengers, many of them AIDS researchers headed to Australia for a conference on the disease. One of the Dutch travelers held a dual American citizenship There were 44 Malaysians, not counting the crew of 19  all whom were Malaysian, 17 Australians, and 12 Indonesians. There were also passengers from the U.K. Canada, Germany, Belgium, and New Zealand. It is reported there were 80 children aboard.

Over on YouTube the space cadets are already posting conspiracy theories. One claims the United States brought the plane down--a couple say the aircraft was actually the 777 designated as Flight MH-370 which went missing back in March and has never been found. Yes, a lot of people use drugs, but only a few can handle them.

This morning some of the talking heads on CNN were wondering whether Malaysia Airlines could survive this second loss, even though it is subsidized by the government. The real questions here are should they and why would any of us want them to.

It wasn't their fault someone on MH-370 went off the deep end, but the company mis-handled the aftermath so badly you had to wonder if the team running the show was named, Moe, Larry, and Curly. Now this--a deliberate management decision to route a flight directly over an active war zone.

Indeed, given what has transpired since March it might be best for everyone if Malaysia Airlines went the way of TWA, Pan American, and countless other outfits who have collapsed because of their own incompetence.

It is, after all, the very essence of natural selection. Take care of business, or end up like the Triceratops.

For all you lawyers out there, the line will begin forming on the left tomorrow morning. And for God's sake, at least try to act dignified.

sic vita est


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