Friday, 10 February 2012

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau Verdict


The AirAsia jet, "descended to a height where there was no longer separation assurance from the ground and from planes operating outside controlled airspace." - Australian Transport Safety Bureau 

Pilot training was cited as a major factor in the incidents. According to today's The Australian, Investigators said the crew were "probably not adequately equipped to manage the approach in other than autopilot managed mode". In essence, theses guys were on their P-Plates, flying you and your family. To be more accurate, they were in the middle of a lesson, with an obviously bungling  'instructor' that allowed this to happen.

In a rather amusing and all-at-once terrifying revelation in a press release, AirAsia were pleased to announce that flying beneath safe minimum radar altitude ended up in a 'smooth landing'. Again from The Australian newspaper, 'The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which classed the incident as “serious”, said the jet descended to a height where there was no longer separation assurance from the ground and from planes operating outside controlled airspace.' OK? What does that mean exactly?

For us laymen, that means AirAsia was precariously close to both the ground and to any civilian aircraft that may have strayed into its path. No longer was separation from the ground assured means - but for the grace of God, it could easily have crashed. If you're hard pressed to imagine any of this, cast your mind back to the Charlton Heston movie classic 'Airport 1975'. That's what generally happens when commercial airliners come into contact with light aircraft in mid air.  If you want to watch the film, go here!

In case it makes you feel better, AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani, said previously: “To say we are putting passengers at risk and flying below the radar is completely incorrect." Oh, ok. Well, that's alright then.  What a load of rubbish, and shameful that this airline has our lives in their hands.

Consider how quickly they are spewing out 'pilots'; Chan Sue Ling of Bloomberg reported thus: "Some airlines aren't waiting for qualified talent to walk in the door. Singapore Airlines and AirAsia, based near Kuala Lumpur, have each set up their own tuition-free training academies. Singapore Air's flying school turns out about 150 cadet pilots a year, while AirAsia's facility trains as many as 500 annually." Five hundred pilots annually, versus one hundred fifty for respected carrier, Singapore Airlines.

If any of this is of concern to you, please read the Australian and International Pilots Association submission to the Australian Government Inquiry into Pilot training and airline safety: A Statement of Concern on Diminishing Flight Standards. The submission is titled: 'Are we handing the keys of the Ferrari to a bunch of "P-Platers"?" - HERE [PDF]

One of the incidents involved a plane dropping below the safe minimum radar altitude while it was coming in to land at the Gold Coast from Kuala Lumpur. A preliminary report from the ATSB states: “During the approach in IMC, the aircraft went below the radar lowest-safe-altitude. On the previous day, a similar incident occurred involving the same aircraft type." Adding to the seriousness of the incident was low cloud making for poor visibility.

Director of aviation safety investigations for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Ian Sangston, said the alleged breaches were serious. As it happens, AirAsia did not previously consider this a serious matter - and possibly still don't. AIRASIA X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani (pictured) believes the airline has no case to answer for what ATSB cited were two serious incidents at Gold Coast Airport. Oh, really, Mr Osman-Rani?


 According to reporter Jason Oxenbridge of Gold Coast Business, Azran Osman-Rani says “AirAsia X has been advised by the ATSB that this is a routine investigation only." No, they are not, Mr Ozman-Rani, they are subject to a 'serious incident investigation'. Enough with the bullshit!!
“To say we are putting passengers at risk and flying below the radar is completely incorrect. The landing was smooth and we are transparent and that is why we are sharing all the flight data. We will fully cooperate with the ATSB,'' Azran said. The head of AirAsia X then proceeded to suspend both pilots, according to numerous posts the Professional Pilots Network. That's not a little bit suss?? Why did you do that if they are innocent, sir? The ATSB is still to release a report from their investigations.

Is this lax attitude toward safety/remuneration  - not to mention their attitude to maintenance HERE  - leading to airlines such as AirAsia and MAS becoming a very real risk to fly? AirAsia's McCarthy leaves no doubt as to Malaysia's lax regulations, and how AirAsia and presumably its sister, Malaysian Airlines, are only too happy to exploit them.  Mr Ozman-Rani shows that AirAsia are deceptive spin doctors who will stop at nothing to wriggle out of acknowledging responsibility. Do you trust them?

In time, these bent politicians  and puppets like Fernandes will be brought to justice. In the meantime, they are gaining a stronger stranglehold of the Malaysia Airlines board of directors by the day; a previously upstanding, safe and professionally run airline will soon be in tatters if Malaysia doesn't wake up. We are not going to hold our breath. Do AirAsia care? RIP MAS.

The last time we received any comment from AirAsia answering our charges on this website, indeed the only time we received any comment from AirAsia, was from a representative named 'Mero' from "AirAsia Blog" - find that link HERE - you will see the staffer contended, "Sure, some pilots manage to do some crazy stuff on our flights, but they get their just punishments just as any other offender would when they do crazy stuff that affects others." We appreciate honesty, but we're probably not alone in being a little bit afraid by that admission, wouldn't you agree?  In fact, it's a little bit scary to say such a thing. Perhaps he was high??? 



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well Done, people...great job in connecting the dots.