JournalismPakistan.com November 9, 2015
It is amazing that so many people stranded in Sharm Al Sheikh are not prepared to leave for their home countries without their luggage. As mystery still surrounds the downing of the Metrojet Airbus 321 as it flew over Sinai, the odds favor a bomb on board that exploded and killed all 224 passengers.
Until things clear it is a sensible precautionary measure in trying to evacuate over 40,000 westerners from the resort by blocking their luggage. On a sun soaked holiday what could you possibly be carrying beyond swimsuits and suntan lotion that you would compromise safety in the air and that of yourself and your family. What sort of people could be so foolish as to worry about a few belongings. Actually, human nature is funny. Anyone studying air accident investigations will tell you that post wreckage fatalities occur most often when passengers try to rescue their hand luggage. Get out, these are only things.
Common sense goes for a six and there is some psychological need to reunite with one’s luggage.
Think of it. This is a holiday by the sea. There is nothing expensive in anyone’s bags. Your wallet and passport are in your hand… go home, will you.
Even if international relations call for a delicate little two step in diplomacy, the general consensus is that the ISIS militants could have gotten to the aircraft and breached security. What makes things even more grim is the fact that another flight from the UK to the Egyptian resort missed a missile by 1000 feet and had 189 passengers on board. Russia and Egypt understandably are still not prepared to commit themselves to this scenario and there is some concern about the aircraft having technical problem but it is very unusual for modern aircraft to break up in the sky unless there is a cataclysmic reason for the collapse.
Perhaps what has compelled many carriers to call off operations to Egypt is the fact that the Russians themselves are taking steps to protect their aviation safety parameters indicating, therefore, that even if the flight data recorder findings are not released the possibility that anti-Russian militants retaliated against Russian led air attacks.
This is not the first time that war has struck a blow on civil aviation. From 1970 to the turn of the century there were 14 such incidents. In this century there have been five with the MAS Flt 17 777 last year being iconic for civilian collateral damage when it was brought down over the Ukraine-Russian border by pro Russian separatists killing 298 people.
The risk of flying over war zones or into areas that are torn by conflict is a constant fear for commercial carriers. Regret after the event is of very little comfort.
One has to acknowledge the good sense which has prevailed in the collective decision to withdraw flights even though Egyptian aviation is severely impacted upon.
As we speak there are 16 confirmed active hostile zones in the world where exchange of fire is given and all possess the capability of missile responses. It is probably time for a global meet on this under the aegis of IATA or ICAO where a standard agreement can be made to announce no fly zones and ensure that civilian scheduled flights are not targeted.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
The Nation, December 14, 2016
As we move into the second week of the stay-home directive, many of us must be discovering a new inner self, and how much we take for granted and miss it sorely when it is gone.Read more... | Archives
A study conducted by JournalismPakistan.com and Communications Research Strategies on the economic situation of slain journalists' families and journalists displaced due to security threats.