Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Air safety: Pressing on

Nguồn tin: nguontinviet.com

ON DECEMBER 30th Indonesian officials said they had discovered debris and bodies from AirAsia flight QZ8501, which had vanished two days previously, floating in shallow seas near the south-west coast of Borneo. The airliner lost contact with air-traffic controllers while passing through rough weather on a short journey between the Indonesian city of Surabaya and Changi airport in Singapore. The plane was carrying 162 people, most of them Indonesians. As The Economist went to press, no survivors had been found.

The crash, most probably an accident, comes at the end of a particularly tragic year in South-East Asia’s aviation history. Search parties have not yet found the remains of Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370, which plunged into the Indian Ocean nine months ago killing all 239 people on board. In September pro-Russian rebels shot down another Malaysia Airlines plane, MH17, over Ukraine, killing another 298.

These earlier calamities nibbled at South-East Asia’s popularity among tourists, especially among sightseers from China. But they have done little to dampen booming demand for air travel among South-East Asians themselves. The region is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets. Its 50-odd carriers are awaiting delivery of 1,600 new planes, about the same number as are in their fleets today. Boeing, an American planemaker, thinks regional airlines will need to order more than 3,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years.

This growth partly reflects the rapid rise of South-East Asia’s middle classes, who are eager to shell out for more convenient ways to navigate the continent’s archipelagoes. It has been nudged along by the region’s governments, who have promised to liberalise aviation as part of plans for greater economic co-operation.

Yet it also reflects growing confidence in airline safety, despite recent disasters. In much of the region rutted roads and fickle seas are a far bigger worry. A recent study of 160 ferry accidents since 2000, costing nearly 17,000 lives, showed that Indonesia and the Philippines were among the most lethal places to board a boat (only Bangladeshi vessels were more deadly). Images of grieving families in Singapore and Surabaya have horrified Indonesians, and the world. But journeys are still safer in the skies.

Đăng ký: Hoc tieng anh



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