James Healy-Pratt has commented on Radio 4 World at One, Radio 5 Live’s Afternoon Edition and LBC’s Drivetime about the priorities at this stage for the families of those lost on the AirAsia QZ8501.
Stewarts is supporting the families affected by the tragedy.
The immediate priority is the recovery and return of their loved ones and the technical aspects involved in that process.
The second priority is establishing what caused the Airbus A320-200 to crash, which according to James may take “a good year of investigations”.
Thirdly families want future lessons to be learned so no other families have to go through the same ordeal.
Whilst appropriate compensation is also important in circumstances where people may well have lost the breadwinner of their family, answering their questions and guiding them through such a difficult time is paramount.
The Aviation team’s role is helping grieving and distressed families early on. According to James it is important to “hold their hands through, what is often, a lengthy process to make sure the needs and interests of the families are put at the forefront of considerations.”
James called for more planes to carry real time data tracking technology. He believes this could lead to more opportunities for search and rescue as opposed to search and recovery operations. Critically, this technology can also support the safety investigations by international teams, where timely access to the site can help establish lessons learnt.
James feels that the airline industry has fallen short of its responsibility to passengers and their families to implement appropriate technology that improves search, rescue and safety investigations.
James has been calling for improved technology consistently since 2009 in support of the families of Air France 447, and again since March 2014 in support of the families of Malaysian 370.
It is hoped that there are few parallels to the case of AirFrance in 2009 where there was a long delay in finding information and locating the black boxes. It took three years to get safety reports back to families.
However, the wreckage is believed to be located in shallow waters of the Java Sea and the recovery of the black boxes will hopefully be imminent.
Eight years ago on January 1st 2007, Adam Air 574 was lost with all 102 lives en route from Surabaya to Manado. James and his team achieved record levels of compensation for many Indonesian families whom lost their loved ones.
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