MH370: Emirates CEO suggests plane’s flight was controlled

“Something is not right here and we need to get to the bottom of it.”

Sir Timothy Clark, CEO Emirates Airways

My “least implausible” theory about the disappearance of MH370, seven months ago, is that it was an engineered and highly successful hijack, by an unknown state intelligence agency, who incapacitated crew and passengers, took control of the aircraft and brought it down without trace, to prevent some of the cargo and some of the passengers from ever reaching China.

Now support for this – or some similar – explanation comes from an unlikely quarter within the heart of the airline industry. Tim Clark has been in the industry since 1972, was recently knighted and has been with Emirates since 1985. He became CEO in 2003 and is also President of the Emirates Foundation.

news.com:

Now, seven months after the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Sir Tim has cast doubt on the official version of events.

In an extraordinary interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, he challenges the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s conclusion this week that MH370 flew south over the Indian Ocean on autopilot for five hours until it ran out of fuel and fell out of the sky, forcing 239 passengers into a watery grave. 

Instead, Sir Tim believes it is far more likely that “MH370 was under control, probably until the very end”, questions the veracity of the “so-called electronic satellite ‘handshake’” used by analysts to pinpoint the probable crash site and insists the mysterious cargo in the hold (removed from the manifest by Malaysian authorities) is a crucial clue to the puzzle.

That an aircraft the size of MH370 can simply disappear without a trace, “not even a seat cushion” was downright “suspicious”, he said.

Seven months since 239 passengers and crew just vanished on a modern jet liner!

This was not an accident. The complete lack of any evidence suggests that “fingerprints have been wiped”. The so-called “electronic handshakes” give a hint of being fabricated to suit a story.

These are extracts of his interview with Der Spiegel:

His view of the vanished Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 is a provocative one. The plane that disappeared was a Boeing 777 and Emirates operates 127 such aircraft, more than any other airline in the world. ….

MH 370 remains one of the great aviation mysteries. Personally, I have the concern that we will treat it as such and move on. At the most, it might then make an appearance on National Geographic as one of aviation’s great mysteries. We mustn’t allow this to happen. We must know what caused that airplane to disappear. …. 

My own view is that probably control was taken of that airplane. ….. It’s anybody’s guess who did what. We need to know who was on the plane in the detail that obviously some people do know. We need to know what was in the hold of the aircraft. And we need to continue to press all those who were involved in the analysis of what happened for more information. I do not subscribe to the view that the Boeing 777, which is one of the most advanced in the world and has the most advanced communication platforms, needs to be improved with the introduction of some kind of additional tracking system. MH 370 should never have been allowed to enter a non-trackable situation. …..

The transponders are under the control of the flight deck. These are tracking devices, aircraft identifiers that work in the secondary radar regime. If you turn off that transponder in a secondary radar regime, that particular airplane disappears from the radar screen. That should never be allowed to happen. Irrespective of when the pilot decides to disable the transponder, the aircraft should be able to be tracked. …… The other means of constantly monitoring the progress of an aircraft is ACARS (Eds. Note: Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System). It is designed primarily for companies to monitor what its planes are doing. We use it to monitor aircraft systems and engine performance. At Emirates, we track every single aircraft from the ground, every component and engine of the aircraft at any point on the planet. Very often, we are able to track systemic faults before the pilots do. ….. Disabling it is no simple thing and our pilots are not trained to do so. But on flight MH 370, this thing was somehow disabled, to the degree that the ground tracking capability was eliminated. …….

I’m still struggling to come up with a reason why a pilot should be able to put the transponder into standby or to switch it off. MH 370 was, in my opinion, under control, probably until the very end.

why would the pilots spend five hours heading straight towards Antarctica?

If they did!

I am saying that all the “facts” of this particular incident must be challenged and examined with full transparency. We are nowhere near that. There is plenty of information out there, which we need to be far more forthright, transparent and candid about. Every single second of that flight needs to be examined up until it, theoretically, ended up in the Indian Ocean — for which they still haven’t found a trace, not even a seat cushion. …. 

Our experience tells us that in water incidents, where the aircraft has gone down, there is always something. We have not seen a single thing that suggests categorically that this aircraft is where they say it is, apart from this so-called electronic satellite “handshake,” which I question as well. …..

There hasn’t been one overwater incident in the history of civil aviation — apart from Amelia Earhart in 1939 — that has not been at least 5 or 10 percent trackable. But MH 370 has simply disappeared. For me, that raises a degree of suspicion. I’m totally dissatisfied with what has been coming out of all of this.

Somehow, it feels like a betrayal as the event is labelled an “unsolved mystery” and the world just moves on. Not just a betrayal of the 239 passengers and crew and their families but of the innate sense of human curiosity and questing.

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