European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani and several French politicians have seen fit to pronounce on aviation safety in the wake of the Yemenia Airbus A310 accident in a way that reflects a distressing degree of nationalistic prejudice.
Without any knowledge of what caused the Yemenia accident, they have clearly pre-judged the carrier as not being up to standard. The French have a word for this: chauvinism.
A little more than month ago an Air France Airbus A330 tragically went missing over the
Suddenly Tajani is calling for European air safety standards to be enforced worldwide. The media's response to his statements has been to report him as calling for a worldwide airline blacklist, an idea that seems to appeal to editors. But what exactly is a global blacklist? What would its purpose be? And who would organise it, under which law, and on what authority?
The EU does not have the power to enforce its rules or standards outside
When the Yemenia accident happened, although no facts whatsoever had been established about it, suddenly it was open season for the most unpleasant kind of political posturing. Another thing that the politicians pushed out - and the editors lapped up - was the story that Yemenia had mounted a conspiracy to transfer French and Cormori passengers from the gleaming A330 used on the Paris-Sanaa leg of the journey to a rusty A310 for the fatal Sanaa-Moroni flight. The fact that it is normal practice operate a big aeroplane on a trunk route and a smaller type on a minor route like the one from Yemenia's hub to the Cormoros Islands was apparent missed by politicians and journalists.
Of course, where
French politicians now seem to feel they must be seen to be doing something, but their actions consist only of inelegant attempts to cover their own backsides.
They sound almost as bad as Brazilian politicians in the wake of the Gol collision and the TAM Congonhas overrun, who fired off salvoes of blame in all directions to distract attention from the fact that they had underfunded the aviation infrastructure in the country they governed. It was high farce.
And these people are the guardians of our regulatory systems and our safety? Don't make me laugh.