With the world’s leading air companies still reeling from the September 11 terrorist attacks, another blow has been dealt to the prestige of civil aviation. Experts estimate that air companies have incurred a total loss of about $25 billion, following the crash of an American A-300 on November 12. The BBC reports that the US Air Transport Association has asked the Treasury Department to grant a $2.4 billion tax break to air companies. It will be recalled that the US Treasury has already allocated $15 billion to support them.
Svitlana HAVRYLENKO, chief, general division, Aviation Insurance Bureau of Ukraine:
“In light of the most recent world events, I am frankly afraid of using air transport. As the proverb says, walk softly. This is especially true of foreign flights. A train or ship is better. Yet, I am quite calm flying within the limits of this country and the CIS. I am convinced that we should not expect any surprises in our country. Should I still have to fly abroad, I will use the services of Ukrainian airlines. I think this will be a safer option.”
Vitaly BABAK, Rector, National Aviation University:
“Of course not. Civil aviation and aviation in general is one of the safest forms of transportation. Statistics show that throughout its history, civil aviation (incidentally, it will be 100 in two years) has been one of the safest ways of transport at any time and from any point of view.”
“The point is the tragic confluence of circumstances this year: first, September 11 and then the A-300 crash. But this is the exception, not the rule. The trouble is that an airplane is in any case a hunk of iron subject to wear and tear. On the other hand, whatever man does is also not ideal. When you are driving a car and something breaks down, you can pull into a service station. But what can you do in an airplane? Still, aviation is a form of transportation with the strictest possible rules of production and operation. As time passes, these rules and requirements become more stringent. So you should not be afraid. If you are so fearful, you needn’t have been born at all.”
Andriy ORLOV, deputy general manager for commercial affairs, Aerosvit Company:
“You know, any normal person who flies on a plane feels something. There is a fair share of fear, of course. On the one hand, it is dangerous, on the other, aviation is the safest transport if you take into account the number of dogs being run over by cars. Judging by the measures that have always been taken all over the world, including this country, to ensure the control over and the safety of air flights, we can affirm that it is quite safe to use air transport. Have you ever heard, for example, about air terrorist acts in the CIS? I never have. Yes, there have been some hijackings, but it is not only airplanes that have been hijacked. In my opinion, a group of mentally deranged people acted in the US on September 11. But I am not afraid of such cases, and, if were to go on business to America, I would surely opt for an airplane. On the other hand, it might be quite a pleasure to roll on the ocean waves for a week or so.”
The Armed Forces of Ukraine have adopted the An-26-based medical transport aircraft. Interfax-Ukraine quotes the Ministry of Defense as reporting that the plane was built on the initiative and direct support of Viktor Strelnykov, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Air Force. The aircraft is able to carry five patients. One seat can be converted, if necessary, into an intensive-care unit or an operation theater, which makes it possible to perform urgent operations even when the plane is in the air.