Aussie aviator and adventurer Dick Smith has called on airlines to place a 10-cent levy on tickets to fund a new search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Smith, a former chairman of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority who flew the first solo helicopter flight around the world, said the search must be restarted in the interests of aviation safety.
The fate of MH370 remains one of aviation greatest mysteries after it disappeared with 239 people on board while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
He cited three incidents — the metal fatigue problem with de Havilland Comets, the fire on South African Airways Flight 295 and the pitot tube problems on Air France Flight 447 — as examples of why the missing Boeing 777 should be found.
Smith said all three accidents had led to improvements in safety and the thing that really worried him about MH370 was that “we’ve stopped searching for this plane”.
He said there was simply not enough evidence to know what happened to the plane and it was imperative it be found so that any potential safety problems could be ruled in or out.
“Yes, many people believe it was a murder-suicide, and we’re not going to learn a lot if we do recover the plane and that’s so,’’ he said at the launch of the latest book on the issue, The Hunt for MH370.
“But let’s say there was an airworthiness design problem, not just in that 777 but in all aircraft. It could be so, it could be possible.”
Smith said airlines already gave passengers the option to pay to offset carbon emissions and fly green.
He believed they would also opt to pay 10 cents to guarantee their future safety and this would generate enough money to restart the search and keep it going.
“It’s not possible for governments to (use) taxpayers’ money to keep paying, but surely IATA or ICAO or someone can get together and work out a simple system to raise some money to find that plane.
“Because it’s absolutely imperative we find the plane to rule out or rule in what happened so it can be safe in future.”
There have been renewed calls for the search to be resumed as the fifth anniversary approaches but the Malaysian government has said it will not do so it unless there is credible new evidence of a potential crash site.
Many people believe the captain of the flight, Zaharie Ahmed Shah, was behind the disappearance because of what was done to disable communications and the way it changed course in the initial phases of the doomed flight.
But there is disagreement between some pilots and experts about whether the aircraft was under control in its final moments.
Finding the plane will shed more light on its disappearance, particularly if the “black boxes” can be retrieved and can still be downloaded.
Other theories for the disappearance include a fire on the plane and a slow form of hypoxia.
Two searches of the ocean seabed failed to find the wreckage.