As I sit at my desk today, (Sunday, Feb 19) reading one of your letters about the efficiency and accountability of Proton and MAS, I can clearly see the MAS' Airbus for the 11.05am flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur stuck at the end of the runway of Kuching Airport where it has been for the past three hours or so.
It is surrounded by lots of people scratching their heads and with a crane and tractor rather carefully (I hope) trying to dig the nose wheel of the aircraft out of the mud.
What has clearly happened is that whilst the aircraft was taxiing and turning at the end of the runway prior to takeoff, the pilot misjudged the situation and ran off the tarmac runway and onto the soft apron at the end. Not unexpectedly, the nose wheel has sunk and the aircraft is now firmly stuck and the airport has been closed with no takeoffs or landings for the past three or more hours.
This is clearly an embarrassment for the pilot and of course for MAS. But there is a bit more to it than that. We have the right to ask whether MAS is properly exercising its duty of care to the public if it allows its pilots to be so lax and incompetent that they can't even drive the aircraft properly on the ground in just a two dimensional situation?
What happens when 'up and down' is added to the equation in addition to 'forward and back' and 'left and right'?
I feel sad for the pilot who was clearly thinking of something else at the time (maybe he missed his morning laksa). But on a more serious note, can MAS assure all citizens that this particular pilot and co-pilot will be suspended indefinitely and sent for a refresher courses on simulators etc?
They should not be allowed to fly again with real passengers on board until they have satisfied the most stringent standards with respect to all aircraft operations - taxiing as well as flying!