Thursday, 23 August 2007

Are Airlines sacrificing safety for money?

The China Airlines accident couldn’t have happened at a worst time, the jet was packed with holidaymakers in the peak season of the vacation period.

It’s amazing that all passengers onboard escaped alive even if it was just by a hair’s breadth.

Ground workers have reported seeing fuel leaking from the right engine as the aircraft was taxiing to its parking spot. They alerted the pilots who at once began the evacuation procedure.

Once everyone had evacuated using emergency slides an explosion fired out on the left hand side engine.

It’s now serious questions are being asked. Where and how did the fuel leak happen, did the pilots notice the leak and if not why not, were the fuel tanks already damaged and been ignored?

This especially brings about a very important issue I have talked about before, have safety inspections been compromised in favour of money making? Investigations into this incident will be looking at the airline’s daily maintenance processes.

Nobody who wasn’t onboard the aircraft can imagine the terror and panic filling the cabin. Some have said the smoke that filled the inside whilst they were still evacuating started to take over the plane. It could have been a totally different result had the evacuation process taken longer than it did.

The designs of all aircraft are designed specifically so that all passengers can be evacuated in 90 seconds even with all the seats filled.

The investigation will most likely look at whether the crew did carry out proper evacuation procedures despite the evacuation going well in the accident.

This particular airline hasn’t had a good safety record to say the least. A China Airlines Airbus crashed on landing in 1994 at Nagoya Airport killing 264 people onboard. Four years later another Airbus went down in a residential area, in 2002 a 747 crashed in the Taiwan Straits.

China Airlines need to finally learn an important lesson and review its current operations and safety management. How many more lives are to be lost on their aircraft?

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