The business of commercial aviation is a high-technology venture that demands the highest levels of team-work, professionalism and skill, both laterally and vertically through the entire system, ultimately ending up with highly skilled human beings in the cockpit and cabin and trusting passengers going about their routine travels. Even the slightest weakness in this complex linkage, however far removed from actual aircraft operations, can one day lead to horrific consequences, the likes of which were witnessed when 158 passengers and crew lost their lives in Mangalore nearly ten years ago and again when 18 lost their lives at Kozhikode’s International airport, the other night.
Those of us who have lived our lives in the aviation business know through experience that rarely, if ever, is a catastrophic accident the result of just one cause or human failure. Instead, it is when many seemingly disjointed factors all stack up that an accident or near-miss may occur. Mathematicians tell us that such chances are extremely rare and that is why civil aviation remains the safest mode of transportation today.