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Emergency landings underscore safest aviation year

January 4, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A British Airways flight from Bangkok to London made an emergency landing at Heathrow airport on Tuesday – and Qantas made an unscheduled landing at Honolulu on New Year’s Eve – yet the circumstances underscore why last year was the safest ever recorded for commercial aviation.

BA’s B777 airliner declared a medical emergency – rather than a mechanical one – over southern England at the end of a 12-hour flight.

The aircraft changed direction and landed safely, with BA stating:  “The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority. Our highly trained pilots requested a priority landing in order that a customer could receive urgent medical attention.’”

Such incidents are not unusual and the speed at which airlines attend to them, the skill of crew and the reliability of modern airliners contributed to last year’s impeccable safety result. See: Two reports reveal world’s safest mode of transporthttp://www.seychelles.travel/

One airline, Qantas, has a remarkable safety record. Decisive action by the flight crew contributes to that. On New Year’s Eve, last Sunday, Qantas flight QF76 from Vancouver to Sydney, operated by a B747-400 with 384 people aboard, decided to divert to Honolulu because the plane’s weather radar failed. The aircraft landed safely in Honolulu.

Simon Hradecky’s Aviation Herald said the same aircraft had suffered a similar problem four days earlier while flying from Los Angeles to Brisbane. In that instance, the crew decided to return to Los Angeles.

In the New Year’s Eve occurrence, the Qantas aircraft “remained on the ground in Honolulu for 39 hours then positioned back to Australia and resumed service” the Aviation Herald reported.

Not quite the New Year’s Eve passengers had expected, but always better to be safe.

Written by Peter Needham

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