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Millennium Post

Safety in the skies

The recent media reports about MH-370, the Malaysian flight, which mysteriously vanished on 8 March, that the co-pilot had tried to make a mid-flight call has renewed speculation that the flight was deliberately diverted from its designated routes. The tragic incident left 239 people dead. Many theories have been presented including a terror plot, hijack, or a rogue pilot by the experts but the investigation authorities have not yet found any substantial evidences to prove any of the theories. The disappearance of the flight has exposed serious gaps in the international aviation security system that must be plugged immediately. The first serious aviation security threat came to light after the 9/11 terror attacks in US where al-Qaeda members hijacked aircrafts to bomb New York buildings including the World Trade Center. The two main questions to ask Malaysian authorities are: Did they immediately inform their neighbouring countries when they lost sight of their aircraft? Why were two passengers with stolen passports allowed to board the flight? Although, it is not yet clear that the two Israelis with stolen passports were responsible for the disappearance of the aircraft, there is a possibility of them indulging in criminal activities in future. It reflects the poor state of ground security at Malaysian airport. Had they found out about the stolen passports, the authorities could have been alerted that something is wrong with the flight. It has been over a month now and there has been no clear lead from the search operations.

Evidently, the joint search and rescue operations (SAR) undertaken by around 25 countries including India for Malaysian Flight 370 is one of the biggest and most complex operation of recent times. The operation, however bore no fruitful results, one thing that stood out was that an international crisis like this brought together the countries, usually at loggerheads with each other. The wreckage may take forever to find. But the incident will set a precedent for rival countries that in the moment of international crisis, they stand together. The countries should jointly identify and fix the systematic failures in global aviation security sector.

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