Sunday, November 21, 2010

Qantas’ Broken Record

If you live here in Australia, then it’s playing on your television. All you need to do is turn it on to listen to that record rant on about how Qantas has just broken theirs, and make no mistake, that broken record is spinning. They had a good run for a while there; Qantas’ record hadn’t played in a couple of years, but now, to their misfortune, someone has applied enough pressure to that ‘on’ button for it play, and it just plays on and on. The lyrics of Qantas’ broken record, which the media dusted the cobwebs off and have played over our airwaves on loop for the last few weeks, are simple: that Dustin Hoffman has now been proven wrong and the Australian Airline’s ‘safe record’ is at stake. So, the question is, why does it seem like the exact same thing is happening that only happened a couple of years ago in 2008? Is it just the media rehashing a sensationalised story or is this a biannual gag that Qantas enjoy playing on everyone?

Firstly, let’s take a step back in time: In July of 2008, a Qantas jet flying from Hong Kong to Melbourne suffered explosive decompression, which literally punched a hole the size of a small car in the baggage section of the fuselage. Now, normally this would have been seen as just one of the many things that can go wrong that did when engaging in air travel, however, what followed was the coming true of any Australian news producer’s most intense and vivid of wet dreams - more midair incidents on Qantas-run aircraft. Three days later, a plane of theirs had to turn back and land because it’s landing gear failed to retract. Early the following month, another plane had to do the same and land because it leaked hydraulic fluid. Now, the two previous things and the myriad of other quite minor incidents - too great in number to even mention - were all an obvious result of Qantas being under media-scrutiny, until two months later in October when one of their planes nosedived unexpectedly due to a computer malfunction, this one resulting in several serious injuries. After all of this, not only did every journalist devour Qantas like at an all-you-can-eat buffet, making out like Qantas are full of morons and routinely making use of the phrases ‘string of issues’ and ‘series of problems’, but many took the ‘tarnished safe-record’ route as well, the ‘can Australians still trust Qantas?’ headlines come rolling in, often aided with the all-too-critical Rainman reference where Dustin Hoffman’s autistic character refuses to fly anything but Qantas due to the fact that the company have never had a crash or a fatality in its history. At present day, almost like the media are doing reruns of the news, this exact same thing is happening again. Almost every ‘t’ is virtually being crossed here with the exception of injury, from smoke in the passenger cabin to the ruined Rainman quotes. It all started earlier this month when a jet flying over Indonesia had an engine explode, dropping pieces on one of the Indonesian islands. That’s where the play button got pressed - there followed, just like in 2008, a litany of small incidents, one of which includes smoke entering the cockpit, just like in 2008. Like I said, all of it just has that familiar-déjà vu feeling to it.

First and foremost, I point the finger at the manipulative-manipulated Australian media. We all know that when it comes to the media, be it in Australia or any other country, once someone or something falls into that spotlight, they’ve just been sentenced to months in a prison of close media-scrutiny, so close in fact, that anything that they do in those months makes it as headlining news six o’clock the following night; is Qantas suffering this treatment? Do they just have these incidents all the time yet the media only notices them when they are watching Qantas, concocting some fabricated rough-patch? Or maybe Qantas are in bed with them, and that’s why negative news reports are so infrequent. That is always a possibility, I mean, assuming that incidents like rapid drops in altitude and mid-air explosions are happening all the time, how would these things just simply go unnoticed? It seems that even the more minor incidents go straight over the media’s head, so to speak. If indeed there have been transactions of money between the media and the airline, some might ask why there have been these two ‘strings’ of issues if the media are meant to be silent. The way I see it is, in this day and age, the media can still be silenced, but that doesn’t take care of personal accounts and, thanks to the revolution of the internet, those accounts can now go a long way. I can guarantee that the next time there is an incident on one of these planes, if not tomorrow, it’ll be in two years time – mark your calendars, guys – a quick Google search will bring you blogs and Twitter feeds recounting mid-air Qantas blunders.

Hey! Maybe Qantas have and are being treated correctly. Maybe Qantas did have a one hundred percent preacher’s sheets clean slate for a couple years and then all of a sudden, within three weeks, have numerous incidents (and counting...), on several different aircraft, all of which are reported on the news; I hope you could sense the sarcasm there because this just isn't possible. Seriously, is Qantas having a laugh? Is this the Qantas version of April Fools’? Do you reckon they all went ten pin bowling for a work-outing one night and realised that they just really love streaks, be it a winning one or a losing one? What I am trying to say is that there is no way that it just happened this way, and for a second time, at that.

Something doesn't smell right here and the grand question is, who’s the arsehole who reeks of foul-play - Australia's trusted airline, Qantas, or all of the Australian and worldwide journalists whose pens and word-processing programs seem to all cease operation simultaneously? Ask yourself that question when Qantas break their perfect ‘safety’ record for a third time.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't read this because I'm going on a plane in 13 days.
    You sure do write a lot, Ryan.