On 14 March (Thursday), Channel NewsAsia (CNA) published a commentary article which revealed that the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 is premature.
Written by Ross Darrell Feingold, the director for business development at SafePro Group, a global security and protection specialist firm, it sought to address the aftermath of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, where a global debate had occurred among air safety regulators, airlines, pilots, flight attendants and passengers, questioning the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
“We may be rushing to judge the reasons behind Ethiopian Airlines ET302’s crash,” Feingold opined.
He said that in the midst of this debate, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had earlier released a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community, but later grounded the aircraft.
The director also noted that despite the rush to temporary suspend the particular Boeing model, passengers can also make decisions to reduce their safety risks.
Feingold wrote that while a lot of countries like Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Oman and the United Kingdom and more have imposed temporary bans on 737 MAX 8, Singapore has taken things a notch higher when the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) suspended all operations in and out of the country of all types of the 737 MAX, and not just the 737 MAX 8.
“Inquiries I have received about the likely reason behind the crash range from state-sponsored and non-state actor terrorism to cyberwarfare and hackers, but I advise travel and security executives at public and private sector organisations, travel agents and individual travellers to avoid speculation regarding the cause,” said Feingold.
He added, “More immediately, the CAAS suspension will impact many airlines with operations at Changi Airport. The high regard fellow regulators in Asia have for CAAS makes it possible that other regulators in Asia will also impose a broad suspension on 737 MAX variants”.
Therefore, he said that disruption to passenger itineraries is bound to happen soon as airlines try to re-deploy their fleets to replace the suspended aircraft.
With the availability of tools to check on the model of aircraft and the routes available to choose from for travel between two destinations, he also mentioned that passengers must be responsible for their travel decisions.
“Passengers flying on a 737 MAX 8 can also inquire as to the status of the software updates and additional pilot training, which will be mandated by the US FAA and airlines will publicly report compliance with,” he explained.
Although passengers can’t completely get rid of aircraft incidents, but they should at least “make the same effort to familiarise themselves with airline and aircraft developments to the same extent they would inquire about public safety at their destination”.
After reading the article, more than 100 comments were received on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page where netizens lashed out at him and said suspending Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 is not a premature panic.