Lessons from a Tragedy: an IATA perspective

Delivered by Tony Tyler, Director General & CEO, International Air Transport Association

The tragedy of MH370 has saddened us all. Through the media, the world continues to follow the extraordinary international response. As human beings, we have kept all those on board, their families and friends in our thoughts through these difficult weeks.

The continuing search is being conducted on an unprecedented scale and the efforts of those involved are no less than heroic. We admire their courageous determination and hope for their safety and success.

Something terrible happened on what should have been a routine flight. Much as we would like to, we cannot wish the event away. From the moment tragedy struck, our colleagues at Malaysia Airlines have been working with the families to help them deal with the trauma of their loss. It is a challenging task, especially in a case with so much uncertainty.

The airline industry, its stakeholders and regulators are at the beginning of the journey to unravel this mystery, determine the cause and find ways to ensure that it is not repeated. That is the best way for all of us involved in aviation to honour the memory of those on board.

In ‘normal’ circumstances accident investigations take a year or more. In this case, given the difficult area in which the aircraft was lost, it will surely be a long journey before we can draw any certain conclusions on mitigation.

In the meantime, speculation – of which there has been much – will not make flying any safer. The so-called ‘black box’ will tell the story with the information on the flight data and the cockpit voice recorders. The priority is to recover these as soon as possible. And we should not jump to any conclusions on probable cause before the investigation closes.

 

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