Sunday, 18 April 2010

Safety vs. Convenience?

Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano's second eruption in a month last Wednesday has caused most of Northern Europe's airspace to shutdown due to safety concerns. Experts fear that the the volcanic ash in the sky could fly into the engines of airplanes. The grounding of flights departing from and arriving at the affected airspace has extended from Thursday til Sunday evening and it is likely that the ban will continue well into the week ahead. Airlines are calling for the flights ban to be reviewed and are even conducting their own flying tests.

The economic impact of this unprecedented ban can only be estimated but beyond the losses that must be absorbed by the air travel industry, I feel a great deal of sympathy for many travelers who have been hit by this, especially the ones who are unable to return home. As much as it would suck to have to postpone or cancel your holiday plans because you can't fly out, I would say that it would suck a great deal more to be at the other end of your holiday and not being able to return home. Imagine having to spend night after night at the airport as you restlessly await the announcement that flights are resuming, which many people are having to do since they either can't get a hotel room or can't afford the extra nights of accommodation added to their trips.
Are the aviation safety authorities being overly cautious or are we are all being too cavalier and too impatient in demanding that flights resume immediately. After all, would I really want to get on a plane if I was more clear about the risk and implications of flying at this time. Take a look at the picture above - would you want to fly through that? Perhaps what this all boils down to is the failure of the safety authorities to fully communicate to the general public the severity of the hazards of air travel in the event of volcanic ash dispersion. Spread the word, not the ash.

No comments:

Post a Comment