MIAMI — Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, spoke to Airways magazine in an interview about the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, his doubts about the facts of the aircraft’s disappearance and why he thinks MH Flight 370 should have never happened.

Clark said that MH 370 remains one of the great aviation mysteries. “Personally I have the concern that we will treat it like that and move on, and it will go onto National Geographic as one of aviation’s great mysteries. We mustn’t allow this to happen,” he said. “This aeroplane has disappeared without a trace. The public and the industry are questioning the lack of information and the cold hard logic of the disappearance of this and the factors that led to its disappearance.”

Clark theorizes that control was probably taken of the aircraft, thus the events that happened during the course of its tracked flight will be anybody’s guess of who did what and when. “I think we need to know who was on this aeroplane in the detail that obviously some people do know, we need to know what was in the hold of the aeroplane, in the detail we need to know, in a transparent manner,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off at Charles de Gaulle Airport. (Credits: Laurent Errerea)
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off at Charles de Gaulle Airport. (Credits: Laurent  Errerea)

The transponders are under the control of the flight deck, said Clark. “These are tracking devices, aircraft identifiers, that work in the secondary radar regime. If you turn off that transponder in a secondary radar regime, it causes a disappearance of that particular aeroplane from the radar screen,” he said. “That should never be allowed to happen. All secondary and primary radar should be the same. Irrespective of when the pilot decides to disable the transponder, the aircraft should be able to be tracked.

“So the notion by the Malaysians that the disappearance from the secondary radar and then the ability of the military to use primary radar to track the aeroplane and identify it as ‘friendly’ – I don’t know how they did that – is something we need to look at very carefully,” said Clark.

In remarks about the ongoing search for MH 370, Clark said the search has begun again in the Southern Ocean. “But look at what they had there [before]: the Russians, the Chinese, the British, the Australians and the Malaysians. They had so many aircraft there that at one point, they had to bring in a separate aircraft to control their movements, so they didn’t bump into each other. And still, nothing,” he states. “Now, months later, they are gonna start again, but they couldn’t find anything with all these entities before. This is very strange.”

Heading an airline that operates the largest number of 777s in the world, Clark said he has a responsibility of knowing exactly what went on. “I do not subscribe to the view that the aircraft, which is one of the most advanced in the world, has the most advanced avionic and communication platforms, needs to be improved so that we can introduce some kind of additional tracking system for an aeroplane that should never have been allowed to enter into a non-trackable situation,” he stated. The complete interview with Clark will be in the January issue of Airways magazine, which comes out on November 30.