When I was younger, I was told that the airplane is the safest way to travel. The odds are 45 millions to 1 for a plane to crash.
The numbers are so comforting that I often able to sleep soundly as soon as I settle in my seat on the plane. Whether it is a 45 minutes flight to Singapore, or 13 hours to London. Only waking up when the stewardesses start serving the meals.
That safe bubble starts to crack in 2001. I remember that night clearly in my mind.
I was only 11, and I stayed awake past my curfew to play games on the family PC. I got bored and turned to the TV for a better entertainment. My parents must had been the last ones to watch TV in the living room, as the decoder was set to CNN. At first I thought it was an action movie, I was both excited and disappointed at the same time: excited, because I’ve never seen that movie before; disappointed, because the narration was repetitive and thus, boring. It took me a while to realise that it’s not a movie and that the planes are really hitting the two tall skyscrapers.
Immediately, I ran to my parents’ room and woke my sleeping parents. They groggily turn on their TV, switch to CNN, and I could see the moment their brains jolted awake, as they watched the replay of the World Trade Center came crumbling down. They both just quietly stared the TV monitor for a long long time, ignoring my presence in their room way past bedtime.
My mother were scheduled to travel to US for work in a few weeks after. For a week, there’s a lot of discussions on whether the plan should be cancelled or postponed, especially with Muslims labelled as terrorists. A week before she left for US, I was given my first “If Something Happens To Me” talk by my mother.
And since then, every time my mother travels to a different continent for longer than a week, I will have to listen to that particular talk. Which is often, as working in marketing field, it is part of her job requirement. At this point, I already have the messages and instructions memorised by heart.
This year alone is a nightmare for aviation industry, especially Malaysian aviation. It is quite unfortunate that these events occurred on Malaysia’s tourism year. It is difficult to convince people to Visit Malaysia 2014 when airplanes to/fro to this nation literally fall from the sky.
First, Malaysia Airlines MH370 goes missing. Even with the (suspiciously) quick response for aid from US, the whereabout of the plane is still unknown. Officially, it is reported that the plane at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean. Four months later, Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatist group. This time, Malaysia dealt directly with Ukraine & Russia (much to the displeasure of US government). Then, a Malindo Air jet carrying a team of state footballers caught on fire as it taxi. The plane quickly land itself back down and the fire was able to be put out without further damage or any casualty and injury.
The latest in the series of unfortunate event, just in time before the new year, is a missing AirAsia QZ8501 flight. No official report yet on it. The rumour mill is buzzing that the plane may have crashed in Bangka, Belitong. Where the communication was dropped.
My question now is: What are the current odds for a plane to crash?