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I read with apprehension these reports here MAS flight MH002 Boeing 747-400 to Heathrow London on 16 April 2012 was aborted due to engine failure and here, MAS flight MH 193 Boeing 737-800 from India to KLIA on Sunday 15 April was forced to turn back to port of embarkation due to technical glitches while in the air. Naturally, the London-bound aircraft’s engine woes was given more prominence by the news media.

Technical glitches/engine failure in the air in quick succession such as this has never been known in MAS’s flying history since 1972,as far as I could remember. The recent share swap deal between MAS and Air Asia and the accompanying internal engineering section’s staffing rearrangement have contributed to a negative perception.

MAS B747 engine failure in the air on 16 Apr 2012 was a near miss.
AP photo

Having flown with Malaysia airlines countless times, I am concerned about the perceived decline in its management which seems to have affected the staffs’ moral. Could this latest technical problem has anything to do with the current boiling dissatisfaction with the top management? Like it or not , speculations are abound in the non-mainstream media including blogosphere.

On the contrary, is it due to the natural aging of the engine of the aircraft which has been in use for almost four decades? What happens to the safety maintenance record? A transparent investigation will help clear the air and reassure passengers. But unfortunately I have the feeling as it’s frequently the case, we will never get to know the outcome of the investigation. A highly regrettable pattern in Malaysia.

Yes, air crashes could happen to any airlines, such as the latest one here, but the disaster game of chance would weigh heavily on those whose substandard safety measures and poor safety record is public knowledge. Even a new aircraft like airbus A380 has its own problems/defects, what more an old horse like B747. MAS needs to retire these 747s like what Singapore Airlines (SIA) has done. These aircraft are not only fuel-guzzling but their engine expiry dates seem to have come a-knocking. Maintenance and spare parts are becoming costlier and engineering support capability eventually exhaustive. Forget about outsourcing of maintenance services especially from Air Asia whose safety record is nothing to speak about.

Airbus A380 -more fuel efficient and better engine technology.

Despite currently being an Enrich Platinum member (and a minority shareholder) of MAS and genuinely love its cabin crew and the exceptional service of its business class, I will not put myself under unnecessary risks by flying with it should its technical safety remain suspect and lacking transparency.

Technical glitches/engine failure in the air without resulting in air disasters are still near misses mandating a stringent investigation and rectification at whatever cost.

The latest acquisition of Airbus A380 and its scheduled inaugural flight to London on 01 July 2012 is indeed a welcoming move by MAS. And we, the frequent-flyer passengers, expect the same reliable safety record which has made MAS a five- Star airlines all these years.

MAS is our national pride.


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