Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Heed the lessons missing flight has taught us

By Gong Honglie (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-22 10:20

Maybe, airlines should adopt new technologies such as cloud storage to store flight data. The adoption of new technologies increase costs and raise risks of data leak, but it is worth the risk because, in case of an accident or hijacking, society has a lot more to lose. State or international aviation organizations need to take control of the situation by setting mandatory standards for data storage.

The MH370's disappearance also taught us a lesson in diplomacy. The fact that so many countries joined the search mission is testament to the bond that binds the international community. But the lack of an effective international coordination system nullified the search efforts in the first week, the most crucial period for search and rescue operations. And even the best search teams and devices failed to identify the area where the plane could have crashed because of complicated diplomatic procedures.

According to the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, Malaysia had to be the leading country in the search mission despite its economic constraints, lack of modern devices and professional gap with developed economies. The incident shows urgent need to reform the global rescue coordination mechanism to help organize the most professional search and rescue teams.

In spite of the difficulties, both changes are possible because they concern the interests of countries, companies and international organizations. Negotiations on the process, however, must start sooner than later to ensure that no more planes disappear.

The author is an associate professor at School of International Studies, Nanjing University.

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