Leading article: A reform to make our skies safer

Share
Related Topics

Bahia Bakari, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, was found clinging to aeroplane wreckage eight miles from the island of Le Grande Comore on Tuesday. Her recovery is one comfort in a tragedy that killed the 152 other passengers on Yemenia flight IY626, a crash which raises fresh fears about the safety of international air travel.

Their itinerary began in Paris aboard another aircraft, an Airbus A330, which fully met French and European airline standards but before the journey ended, the flight touched down in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, whereupon passengers were transferred to an older Airbus A310. Banned from French airspace after an inspection in 2007 revealed "numerous" defects, it was this – less safe – aircraft that went down. The practice of airlines using well-maintained aircraft for journeys into European airspace before moving passengers to poorer flights is not new, but little has been done to diminish this dangerous practice by our aviation regulators.

This week the European Union Transport minister, Antonio Tajani, suggested an international "blacklist" of carriers. But there are reasons to suspect that this would not be effective. Firstly, while the number of nations that could sign up to the EU list could be broader, nations with lax safety standards are unlikely to prove effective enforcers. Secondly, the most thorough blacklist in operation, administered by the EU, did not prevent this crash since Yemenia Air was not on it – even though the carrier was forbidden from servicing the jets of European carriers in February.

A simple and effective reform could be made, however. The framework of blacklisting used in both France and the EU can currently bar all carriers in certain countries, specific carriers in some countries, and parts of fleets of some airlines. This final facility should be immediately scrapped and replaced with a simpler rule: if an airline continues to use even one aircraft with a historically poor safety record, the carrier should be banned from flying in European airspace.

That Yemenia saw financial advantage in operating a two-tier system of aircraft safety – only some were safe enough for wealthy Europeans – should have been cause to ban its entire fleet.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd shrink the gap between the highest and lowest paid

Marina Warner
 

Sorry Britain, but nobody cares about your little election – try being relevant next time

Emanuel Sidea
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power