Legal wrangles in the aviation sector


By M.C. Linthoingambee

There are many unsolved mysteries of aircrafts being lost at sea, during war etc and with the recent case of the Malaysian Aircraft MH370, it gets added on to other such cases. The search for the remains of the missing aircraft is still a head on battle with the Australian Government’s nerve wrecking attempts to recover the back box to be able to arrive at a conclusion as to what really happened on board MH37 on March 8. With the announcements made by the Malaysian Government determining that the flight has indeed crashed, several relatives have refused to believe that story after days of being caught between hope, despair and various conspiracy theories. The start of protests has taken effect with several relatives taking into the streets and legal action in order.

As frustrations take into the center of things unfolding, there are various questions arising out of the untouched box. To set things straight, a Chicago based firm has taken the first legal actions related to the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 The firm has asked airline and manufacturer of the missing airplane to provide an extensive list of information along with the names of people familiar with the airline`s batteries, details on the fire and oxygen systems and records related to the fuselage. There are still a lot of questions. There have only been questions that are waiting for answers. They also inquired about the airline`s crew training and screening, security practices and emergency procedures. Experts noted that the families of victims are allowed to pursue legal action in countries including where tickets were purchased and where the airline is based. Suits can also be filed in the passenger`s final destination. That means most suits against Malaysia Airlines would be filed in China or Malaysia. The legal action is the first of its kind regarding the plane and follows an announcement by Malaysian authorities that they believe it “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Flight 370 crashed into the southwestern Indian ocean. No motive for the plane`s changing direction from north to Beijing towards Australia has been given, as search operations continue to find debris that Chinese and Australian satellites have found floating near the assumed crash site.

Beijing has shown great distress with over two-thirds of the flight passengers being Chinese citizens. The relatives of those on the flight have taken to the streets, surrounding the Malaysian embassy in the Chinese capital and demanding clearer answers to what happened to the flight. Many continue to believe that the plane did not crash, as no evidence has been given to corroborate the claim by Malaysian authorities.  Noted reports affirmed that executives of Malaysia Airlines said on Tuesday that they would pay at least $5,000 to each of the families of the 227 passengers aboard the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8, but the gesture appeared to provide little comfort to distraught relatives, about 100 of whom marched to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, where some clashed with police. Malaysian officials sought to allay rising anger in China and widespread doubts at home after they announced this week that an analysis of satellite data made it all but certain the flight had plunged into the south Indian Ocean with no hope for survivors. The airliner`s chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said Malaysia Airlines was prepared to fly families to Australia but noted that the Australian government would grant visas to relatives only if evidence of the plane were found. Search operations resumed Wednesday after strong gales and heavy swells grounded aircraft and drove ships away. As many as a dozen aircraft from six countries, including the United States, will help in the searching discovery.

How far will they be helped with the existing laws? The law in regards to aviation is still new and developing. All over the world, the aviation industry is primarily regulated by rules and laws formulated by the procedure of international treaty and convention. Most of these can be found in the Annexes and Docs of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). However, all ICAO member states being sovereign nations have the prerogative of making their own laws and rules, which have to be notified by them in ICAO’s Aeronautical Information Publication and inform the organisation on the differences so made.

Aviation laws concerns flight, air travel, and associated legal and business concerns and is considered a matter of international law due to the nature of air travel. The business aspects of airlines also fall under aviation law. In the international realm, the International Civil Aviation Organization provides general rules and mediates international concerns to an extent regarding aviation law. Time is running low on the radar as the families continuously befalls the terror and hope that perhaps things would turn out differently. It is strangely inflicted in the hidden controversy as to why the normal flight routine changed its course. As several strange accusations lay with the pilots we know nothing for sure. There have been no conclusive proof and the tides are flowing swiftly for the truth to come into picture soon. The only answer for now is the landmark attempts to start up a series of endless legal battles against the airlines and those related.   


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