Media asked to ensure responsible aviation news coverage

July 8th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of KPMG

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Media should be responsible in reporting issues pertaining to flight safety as it not only affects the credit rating of airlines, especially in difficult times as these, but also the nation’s image as a whole, experts said at a seminar on Flight Safety. Airlines have been making losses of late owing to rising fuel and operational costs. But safety was never compromised to save costs, Air India spokesperson Jitendra Bhargava said at the seminar organised Monday by the Asia Pacific Aviation Media Association (APAMA), an organization that encourages quality reports and information on aviation and aerospace.

“Passengers’ safety is always the priority of any airline. Funds are always available when it comes to safety issue concerning the airline,” he said.

“If media misreports or gives factually wrong facts of an air incident it affects the credit of the airline,” Bhargava added.

Referring to media reports of a pilot being drunk while flying, Bhargava said: “This cannot be the case. A pilot has to undergo medical and breath analyser checks before he is given charge of an aircraft. This (misreporting) causes panic and disrepute to any airline,” he added.

Mark D. Martin, senior advisor, KPMG, a global consultancy firm, narrated an incident concerning JetBlue Airways, which had developed a snag in its nose-wheel landing gear while landing at a US airport.

“Media reported that the plane had caught fire. It caused panic among passengers watching the news on television in the aircraft. But the aircraft landed safely,” he said.

Captain K. Ravindran, general manager (flight safety), Kingfisher Airlines, said India has advanced hydraulic system installed in the landing gears.

“We have a five-tier security system in place. The landing gears will work despite all odds and the pilot will apply other techniques to ensure safe landing. There are alternative measures which the pilot takes during snags,” Ravindran said.

He said India had the youngest fleet of new aircraft. “We (the industry) maintain high standards when it comes to air safety. Most of our aircraft are new. We don’t have to worry on the safety front. All is being done to ensure passenger’s safety. In fact, airlines is safer than any other mode of transport,” he said.

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