Something not to be dismissed
It was the worst accident ever at Suvarnabhumi Airport, as Airports of Thailand chairman Sita Divari said. The incident involving a Thai Airways International plane skidding off the runway caused delays to hundreds of flights over the next two days.
However, there was a benefit as well. The accident on September 8 inspired the authorities to consider improving their handling of emergencies. That would be a boon, as the airport accommodates nearly 100 flights a day. There is no guarantee that all future accidents will be fatality-free like this one.
The incident also may encourage THAI to change some of its rules. Right after the accident, a technician covered the plane's logo with black paint. He did not know why he had to do so, but it was one of the instructions implemented by the airline for more than 20 years. Sadly, in an era when all now carry camera-embedded smart phones, that practice could not escape the public eye.
It is also worth noting that this accident confirms the close connection of Thai society and unexplained mysteries. Days after the accident, rather than paying attention to its cause, social-media users were more thrilled by an interview of a passenger who received help from a flight attendant clad in a traditional Thai costume. On the day when all female cabin crew wore skirts and shirts, the assumption was that she was not human.
Just in case, there are six spirit houses in the airport premises.
As a further precaution, Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt planned a major merit-making ceremony. THAI president Sorajak Kasemsuvan also considered a similar ceremony. That's well considered. Without the ghostly reports, the national carrier and the transport authorities would have endured more attacks over poor crisis management.
WOULD YOU BOARD FLIGHT 666 TO HEL?
Would you board Flight 666 to HEL on Friday the 13th? That is how The Associated Press started its piece about a flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki - which has the three-letter designation HEL.
Friday the 13th is considered unlucky in many countries and the number 666 also has negative biblical associations. For superstitious travellers, that might be tempting fate. But Finnair passengers on AY666 to Helsinki don't seem too bothered. This Friday's flight was almost full.
Evidently they realise that accidents can happen anywhere at any time.
FLEET OF FOOT IN WORLD OF BUSINESS
In 1985, The Economist magazine published an article titled "Lions or gazelles?" with advice credited to a securities analyst named Dan Montano.
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: When the sun comes up, you'd better be running."
Teeranun Srihong, president of Kasikornbank, also learned about this fable, indirectly through his boss - Banthoon Lamsam - when the bank underwent re-engineering after the financial crisis.
At a competitiveness-centric seminar hosted by Thailand Management Association last week, Teeranun cracked a laugh when telling the fable to Thai audience. He understood that all companies would have to run fast, in the fast-changing business world.
"Not that Thailand does not show improvement, but other countries are also on the same course and with a faster speed," he said.
The fable amused PTT Exploration and Production chief Tevin Vongvanich. He said that if he were the gazelle, he would run in a different direction from the lion. Yes, he knows that the lion would turn back, but the gazelle could escape at speed.
Need an interpretation? Like others who love to think they are victims, Tevin compared himself to a gazelle. But in an unconventional way, he thought about changing direction. It may assure PTTEP's shareholders that the company will grow, but probably with an unconventional approach.