Qatar’s national carrier has volunteered to take part in a pilot project to give airlines access to Interpol‘s database of lost and stolen travel documents, following the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying more than 200 people last month.
Qatar Airways is one of two airlines – the other is Air Arabia – that have been selected to take part in the trial, which will see every passenger’s details being checked against Interpol’s list.
The carrier was chosen for the trial because it approached Interpol directly and expressed an interest in taking part, according to Michael O’Connell, director of Interpol’s operational police support directorate.
Interpol’s move to increase access to its database follows news that two Iranian passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had been traveling on stolen passports.
In a statement, Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble said that while these two men had not been linked with any alleged terrorist activity, it was still a concern that they had been allowed to board with the stolen documents:
“If Malaysia Airlines and all airlines worldwide were able to check the passport details of prospective passengers against INTERPOL’s database, then we would not have to speculate whether stolen passports were used by terrorists to board MH 370. We would know that stolen passports were not used by any of the passengers to board that flight.”
Interpol said that it takes just 0.2 seconds to check whether a passport is listed on its database, refuting recent claims made by Malaysia Airlines that it would take too long for all of its passengers to be checked off the list.
‘We will always be learning’
In a recent interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed the airline’s participation in the Interpol trial, adding however that he believed the industry “didn’t have too many options” if a pilot decided to commit a terrorist act:
“When an individual who is in control of a machine, and is running something in his brain – I don’t think there’s anything the industry could do to change this. But I would not like to preempt the inquiry with what I think could have happened (with Malaysian Flight 370),” he said.
He added that taking part in the Interpol trial was part of the aviation industry’s continuing effort to thwart terrorist attacks, which are increasingly sophisticated, he said.
“There is nothing that will guarantee something will never happen again. We will always be learning. But what we have to do is to make things very difficult to happen.”
He also said that he believes airlines and governments need to commit to finding a technical solution to ensure that aircraft can no longer “disappear,” whatever the cost of doing so. “I don’t think there’s anything more expensive than losing an airplane, whatever the cost may be,” he said.
Here’s a clip from his interview with CNN:
“I don’t think there’s anything more expensive than losing an airplane, whatever the cost may be,” he said. – So the lives on that airplane are worthless is what you’re trying to say Mr. CEO?
Losing a plane is a giant threat to national security. With rising tensions between Qatar and its neighbors, what’s stopping Taliban and/or its copycats from pulling off another 9/11 over here? Insensitive comment but a valid point.
There is a saying that might apply.
” Better to be thought a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.
” I don’t think there’s anything the industry could do to change this.” – So let’s not do anything at all? Each time I have got on a plane I kind of hoped the relevant airline was doing as much as they possibly could do to ensure the fitness of their crew to fly. It seems this is not the case with “World’s 5-star airline” (That phrase doesn’t make sense in English btw). Given that the UAE is already searching the database around 50 million times a year what sort of “trial” is this? I think we’ve already established it works.
The tag line was originally “The World’s Five Star Airline”.
They had to drop it because it was misleadingly implying that it was the world’s *only* five star airline, which it isn’t. Instead they have opted for the grammatically questionable phrase “World’s Five Star Airline”.
Is now also a good time to point out that Malaysian Airlines is also accredited by Skytrax as being a 5 Star Airline?
I find both presenter and CEO guest just creepy………
Google richard quest arrest and you’ll discover that he doesn’t just *seem* creepy… he actually is.
No matter what he does or says, he comes across so poorly. There’s got to be someone out there who is a media consultant or some such, enlighten us, what is it exactly about Al-Baker that makes him so distasteful to so many?
For starters he needs to learn to smile. In addition he continually finds himself in a defensive position..justifying airport delays, high prices and so on. As a result he’s never the bearer of good news.
What a load of rubbish, if the pilot is going to commit suicide there is not much than can be done. You run security drills, develop SOPs, train cabin crew and other pilots /co pilots to look for signs and react to mitigate and stop the risk. Makes me laugh being highly qualified I actually applied for a job with Qatar Airlines security management and didn’t get a look in as was over qualified and asking too much… Glad I didn’t given the attitude of the boss, would have dismissed any program, policy, SOPS to address this type of stuff out of hand by the looks of it. Pay peanuts get monkeys.
Bananas are cheaper than peanuts in Doha.
Yep well they probably got what they wanted someone who would just nod smile and say yes sir you are doing a wonderful job sir, instead of someone who would point out deficiencies , address them and make the place a whole lot safer…their loss and in any event after speaking with employees of the said airline I am glad I didn’t, they are a pretty unhappy lot.