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Cutting costs can be threat to life; we must recognise limits

When the Internet fails with a break in a cable and cars swerve around potholes, the remark is, "Well, this is Thailand, a developing country".

When a motorway bridge collapses in the West, crushing cars and trucks, people say "Well, it just should not happen. We're a developed country, aren't we?"

All countries are developing - it's a matter of degree. The growing pains are usually due to human error and cost saving, but above all trying to run before we can walk. Over the decades it has become a human right to drive, travel, own a house and the latest IT gadget.

Costs have been cut together with services, often threatening quality and safety. Many near collisions go unreported at airports and in the skies due to pressure on AT controllers and inadequate systems.

Would MH370 have disappeared had it been fitted with a constantly working transponder and the crew been more carefully vetted? MH17 could have flown south of the Black Sea saving 298 lives but fuel costs would have increased and time been lost.

Before concerning ourselves with black holes and quantum physics and flying around the universe, we should consolidate what we already have. Refinement and improvement of current systems and management should be paramount and not driven by cost considerations to appease popular demand.

Malaysia Airways' bottom line may not exist much longer due to trying to save a few thousand dollars on two occasions. The result is the losses of hundreds of lives, two aircraft and possibly the company itself.

J C Wilcox

Bangkok


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