International airline accident lawyer examines the challenges faced by Asia’s aviation industry following a string of major plane crashes in recent years.
Over the course of the last few years, Asia’s aviation industry has seen a string of incidents that have impacted the reputation of airlines like AirAsia when it comes to the public’s perception of safety. Among the most recent of these accidents include:
- The Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 – The scheduled international passenger flight disappeared while en route to Beijing on March 9, 2014. A reported 227 passengers from 15 nations were on board. Following a multinational search effort, it was concluded that the plane crashed over the southern Indian Ocean and all who were on board, including 12 crew members are presumed dead.
- The Crash of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 – On December 28, 2014 the scheduled passenger international flight crashed into the Java Sea amid inclement weather conditions. There were 155 passengers and seven crew members on board who all died in the accident.
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Shot Down Over Ukraine – The scheduled international passenger flight was shot down while traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. American and German intelligence sources have said the act was committed by pro-Russian insurgents who fired an air missile from a territory they were controlling. The crash of the plane resulted in the deaths of 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board.
- The Crash of TransAsia Airways Flight 222 – The domestic passenger flight crashed into buildings while approaching its landing in bad weather conditions July 23, 2014. Of the 54 passengers and four crew members on board, only 10 people survived the accident. Five people on the ground also sustained injuries after a fire erupted.
- The Crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 – This scheduled transpacific passenger flight had traveled from Incheon International Airport to San Francisco International Airport. The Boeing 777 plane crashed on final approach into the airport. Two passengers were killed at the scene and a third died at a hospital days later. All three were teenagers. 181 other passengers sustained injuries. There were 307 people aboard the flight total.
Many of these accidents are still under investigation today. Recently, media reports highlighted the challenges Asia’s aviation industry now faces in rebuilding its reputation and confronting safety challenges that have arisen amid the market’s growth. Desmond Ross, who is a principal at DRA International aviation consultants who previously headed the Pacific Aviation Safety Office, which oversees South Pacific island’s airline safety, is quoted in an Associated Press report as stating of the issue, “We’re in uncharted waters… I don’t think the world has seen this sort of growth before.”
The AP report notes that analysts predict that the air travel market in Indonesia alone will triple in 20 years becoming the sixth largest in the world.
New York based aviation accident attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, whose firm the Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC has handled several international aviation accident cases, “factors that present safety challenges include dated infrastructure and systems that have not evolved with the continent’s growth.”
There have been widespread calls for reform of safety regulations in areas such as Southeast Asia. Some suggest the report released in March regarding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in particular helps illustrate the need for a drastic change in safety standards. As noted by the AP, the transcript shows there was miscommunication between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic controllers that led to chaos.
Officials continue to work to determine the best approach for resolving air traffic control and infrastructure problems for the region. As further stated by international airline accident attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, “as passenger numbers rise, more measures need to be put into place to prevent lax safety oversight in the industry. The market cannot afford more stains on its reputation regarding safety.”
Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm, PLLC