Airlines urge more security, passenger checks

Comment: Off

An observer on a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream aircraft takes photos out of a window while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Southern Indian Ocean, near Australia, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Bad weather and poor visibility caused the search to be called off early with the coast guard plane only completing one of its three 210 nautical mile legs. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, Pool)

An observer on a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream aircraft takes photos out of a window while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Southern Indian Ocean, near Australia, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Bad weather and poor visibility caused the search to be called off early with the coast guard plane only completing one of its three 210 nautical mile legs. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, Pool)

A woman, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, looks at messages of wish for the passengers, at a hotel in Beijing, China Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Although it has been slow, difficult and frustrating so far, the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is nowhere near the point of being scaled back, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. The three-week hunt for Flight 370 has turned up no sign of the Boeing 777, which vanished March 8 with 239 people bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Volunteers from Taiwan’s Buddhist association offer prayers for the Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a hotel in Beijing, China Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Although it has been slow, difficult and frustrating so far, the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is nowhere near the point of being scaled back, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said. The three-week hunt for Flight 370 has turned up no sign of the Boeing 777, which vanished March 8 with 239 people bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

A Buddhist devotee offers prayers for passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at a Buddhist temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Investigators are conducting a forensic examination of the final recorded conversation between ground control and the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 before it went missing three weeks ago, the Malaysian government said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Koji Kubota of the Japan Coast Guard keeps watch through a window of their Gulfstream V aircraft while flying in the search zone for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Tuesday, April 1, 2014 off Perth, Australia. Investigators are conducting a forensic examination of the final recorded conversation between ground control and the cockpit of the Malaysian plane before it went missing three weeks ago, the Malaysian government said Tuesday. Meanwhile Australia, which is coordinating the search for the Boeing 777, cautioned that it “could drag on for a long time” and would be an arduous one. (AP Photo/Paul Kane, Pool)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The Malaysian airliner’s disappearance underscores the need for improvements in security, both in tracking aircraft and in screening passengers, the International Air Transport Association said Tuesday.

Investigators, meanwhile, were conducting a forensic examination of the final recorded conversation between ground control and the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 before it went missing three weeks ago with 239 people on board, the Malaysian government said.

The examination could shed light on who was in control of the cockpit and will also seek to determine if there was any stress or tension in the voice of whoever was communicating with ground control — crucial factors in an air disaster investigation.

The IATA announced it is creating a task force that will make recommendations by the end of the year on how commercial aircraft can be tracked continuously.

“We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish,” said Tony Tyler, the director general of IATA, whose 240 member airlines carry 84 percent of all passengers and cargo worldwide.

Tyler also urged governments to step up the use of passport databases such as the one operated by Interpol to determine if they have been stolen. Most countries including Malaysia don’t run passports through Interpol’s computer system.

The presence of two men on the Malaysia Airlines flight with stolen passports had raised speculation of a possible terrorist link, but it is now thought they were migrants attempting to get to Europe. Nonetheless, their easy access to the flight “rings alarm bells,” Tyler said.

Responding to repeated media requests, Malaysia’s government released a transcript of the conversation between the cockpit and air traffic controllers, which showed normal exchanges as the cockpit requested clearance for takeoff, reported it had reached cruising altitude and left Malaysian air space.

“Good night Malaysian three-seven-zero,” were the final words received by ground controllers at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport at 1:19 a.m. on March 8. On Monday, the government changed its account of the final voice transmission which it had earlier transcribed as “All right, good night.”

There was no explanation of why the last words were changed. The conversation was in English, the universal language of aviation.

Malaysia has been criticized for its handling of the search, particularly its communications to the media and families of the passengers. In Tuesday’s statement, the government said police and forensic examinations were trying to confirm if the voice in the final conversation belonged to the co-pilot as was earlier believed.

The hunt for Flight 370 has turned up no confirmed sign of the Boeing 777, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The search area for the plane has shifted as experts analyzed the plane’s limited radar and satellite data, moving from the seas off Vietnam and eventually to several areas west of Australia. The current search zone is a remote 254,000-square kilometer (98,000-square mile) area roughly a 2 ½-hour flight from Perth.

The 11 planes involved in the search Tuesday returned to their base in Perth

Comments

comments

About the Author