Archive for August 20th, 2014

Air safety: Flying blind

By Andrew Parker
Financial Times
August 18, 2014

The downing of flight MH17 has revealed gaps in the policing of air space that could endanger passengers

Trouble below: airlines’ access to and interpretation of security assessments in the countries they fly across vary widely

On July 14, Ukrainian officials issued an updated “notice to airmen”. The bulletin instructed commercial pilots to increase their altitude but stopped short of telling them to avoid an area where pro-Russia rebels had began shooting down Ukrainian military aircraft.

The final line read “FM FL260 up to FL320” – technical guidance to increase the minimum height for flights passing over the country’s eastern flank from 26,000ft to 32,000ft.

Three days later, Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH17 followed the instruction and flew at 33,000 feet en route to Australia from Amsterdam via Kuala Lumpur. By early afternoon, the Boeing 777 went out of contact and crashed, killing all 298 people onboard and sparking international outrage.

While investigations continue, western experts point to overwhelming signs that the flight was struck by an anti-aircraft missile with a range of more than 32,000ft.

The MH17 disaster has “changed everything”, says Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, the world’s largest operator of long-haul aircraft, who wants wide-ranging reforms to air space management. “It amounted to premeditated mass murder.” Read the rest of this entry »


Dr M’s tirade will not result in Najib’s downfall, say analysts

The Malaysian Insider
By Eileen Ng
20 August 2014

Despite Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stinging criticism of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, there is little chance of any revolt against the prime minister from his Umno comrades, say political analysts.

And this, they told The Malaysian Insider, is because there is no one in the Malay party who is either suitable or willing to take the nation’s top job.

As such, they believed the retired prime minister’s latest rebuke against Najib will not see a repeat of the groundswell which made it untenable for Najib’s predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to remain in office.

“The ability to mobilise support within the party to unseat Najib now is a bit of a stretch. Najib’s position is safe for now,” said respected pollster Ibrahim Suffian. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib’s Cabinet must not skirt issues raised by Dr M

20 August 2014

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been the Malaysian prime minister for more than five years now but going by what his Cabinet colleagues say, the Pekan MP’s only success is handling the flight MH17 incident.

His cousin, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said as much when defending Najib against stinging criticism from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, who stepped down in 2003.

Hishammuddin cited accomplishments, such as the handling of the remains from the MH17 incident, saying Najib succeeded where US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had failed.

But the defence minister hastened to add that he respected Dr Mahathir’s views, similar to some of his Cabinet colleagues, who straddled the fence in saying that Najib and the blunt political veteran should be equally respected. Read the rest of this entry »