Friday, 30 December 2016

Egyptian claim of explosive traces on MS804 met with deep skepticism

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Under normal circumstances, news that traces of explosives have been found after a major air disaster would send the safety-obsessed aviation industry into a headspin. That was what happened in October 2015, when security was tightened across the globe after it became apparent that Metrojet Flight 9268 had been downed by a bomb in Egypt.

Yet, just one year on, purported evidence of TNT traces on the victims of EgyptAir flight MS804 – which crashed en route from Paris to Cairo in May – has been met with deafening silence by the industry and angry dismissals by relatives of the victims.

Top of their concerns is the knowledge that Egypt has manipulated air crash investigations in the past. In 2002, the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) rejected the findings of the more experienced US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) after parallel investigations into EgyptAir Flight 990, which had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean three years previously...

Friday, 23 December 2016

A domestic flight in Libya turns into a European hijacking crisis

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News that a domestic flight operated by Afriqiyah Airways, a state-owned Libyan airline, has been hijacked and flown to Europe should shock and appal an industry that has, since 9/11, spared no expense to end the scourge of such horrors. Events are still unfolding, but it is clear that two men claiming to have grenades forced the aircraft, an Airbus A320, to bypass its intended destination of Tripoli and fly on to Malta, the tiny Mediterranean island nation situated between Libya and Italy. Few details have emerged about the motives or demands of the hijackers. But, at the time of writing, all passengers and some crew had been released, signalling a peaceful end to the crisis...

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Flying while Muslim

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Delta Air Lines found itself at the centre of a social-media storm when Adam Saleh, a YouTube personality who posts about life as a Muslim American, was removed from one of its flights for—apparently—no greater crime than speaking Arabic. Mr Saleh is not the first passenger of Middle Eastern descent to allege discriminatory treatment by airline staff and passengers. But, true to his profession, he may be the first to have recorded an encounter in real time (see link). At the time of writing, nine hours after disembarkation, his video had been retweeted an incredible 556,000 times on Twitter...