KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian authorities have worked very hard to deal with the missing MH370 incident, which is unprecedented, says IATA, the International Air Transport Association.
The country is also doing its best to be transparent and announce new information when it becomes available, said IATA director-general and CEO Tony Tyler.
“They have worked very hard and I, for one, would certainly not like to criticise them. I think anyone looking on can just be grateful it is not them who are having to deal with this very, very difficult situation,” he told reporters at the IATA Ops Conference.
“The authorities and the airline (Malaysia Airlines) have bent over backwards to be transparent and pass on information when it became available.”
He said that it was easy in hindsight to find that some aspects of information dissemination could have been better handled.
He commended the Malaysian authorities for their handling of the crisis, including coordinating a multinational search effort and convening aviation experts from around the world to locate MH370.
Tyler said a thorough review of the way the investigations were handled would be conducted in due course for everyone to learn from mistakes made.
Asked whether he agreed with Malaysia’s decision to announce that MH370 had ended up in the southern Indian Ocean based on calculations by Inmarsat, Tyler said the conclusion had been reached using “very advanced physics and mathematics”.
He said he was sure this had been communicated to the relatives and the public.
Asked about flip-flops in statements issued early on in the investigations, he said that in a fast-developing situation with lots of media pressure, things were perhaps not checked as carefully as they should be, but added that he was sure the authorities had acted in good faith.
“The relatives are naturally going to be very upset if they feel they have been given inaccurate information. I think we also need to understand that those trying to give them accurate information are doing the best they can in a difficult situation,” he said.
Tyler said at this stage of the investigations, IATA was not directly involved in the search but stood ready to come forward with any required advice or input.
He said once the causes of the incident had been established, it would engage with aviation regulators to determine the right course of action in terms of regulation and operation protocol changes.
“We must make sure this cannot happen again by ensuring aircraft can be tracked in real time. We also need to have a look at the issue of data streaming,” he said.
Asked about lithium-ion batteries carried as cargo on commercial aircraft, Tyler said it was common for them to be transported provided all procedures under the Dangerous Goods Regulations were followed.
“Providing that regulations are followed, it is the view of IATA and of most airlines that it is perfectly safe to carry them on board aircraft.
“Some countries may take a particularly strict line on it, but we don’t believe that should be necessary,” he said.