Monday, 11 August 2008

How Incompetent Are We, Really?

I'm upset that Qantas has implied Malaysia lacks competence when it comes to simple maintenance checks.

To begin with, preliminary investigations into the Boeing 747 that had a forced emergency landing in the Philippines on his way from London to Melbourne showed that it was a faulty oxygen cylinder valve that blew the hole in the fuselage and not shoddy maintenance.

But this scare has evolved into a full-fledged flog-anyone-in-sight exercise, which involves a withdrawal of two 737 planes from being sent to Malaysia for heavy maintenance checks.

Qantas' decision to send its 737s to Malaysia for maintenance checks has come under intense scrutiny after the first plane sent there two months ago came back with 95 defects.

It has not been established if the defects rank along the lines of "dodgy staples" or if there is indeed, something with a cause for concern.

Malaysia Airlines issued a statement yesterday defending its checks and calling Australian reports on defects unsubstantiated.

I can understand that Malaysians pose a threat to the Australian Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) industry as we're cheap labour. We're essentially taking their jobs and leaving thm potentially unemployed.

But what really concerns me is whether we do have a hand in our own sorry reputation.

We are a nation with a need of "affirmative action" for the majority. We don't believe in meritocracy. We are steeped in quota systems - be it scholarships, entry into universities and purchase of property.

It is only natural that we have a whole bunch of incompetents walking around.

But have they, through our failed reputation, finally affected the economy?


Anonymous said...

Read the MAS statement below and then decide.
By the way, when was the last, you heard of 'shoddy' work in Malaysia that created worldwide attention?


Qantas had sent one of their B737-400 aircraft to Malaysia Airlines Engineering & Maintenance (MAS E & M) in Subang,Malaysia for a Heavy Maintenance Check (HMC) in May 2008.
The Australian carrier had positioned not less than 12 of their personnel in MAS E & M to oversee all activities carried out on the aircraft. They constantly monitored and audited all HMC activities, throughout the check and reported those items which they felt needed improvement.
Malaysia Airlines Senior General Manager E & M Mr. Mohd Roslan Ismail said, "All the highlights were rectified, to the satisfaction of the Qantas team, before aircraft delivery to Australia. The Qantas team had been very helpful to our personnel, to ensue maintenance standards of Qantas we strictly observed".
With regards to the 'string of faults' that were reported in the media, MAS E & M investigated and established that these were unsubstantiated. This is based on the fact that all these aspects were originally checked and found to be free from defect during the maintenance check and test flight, with the concurrence from the Qantas team.
As for the case of a Qantas flight attendant experiencing a static/mild electric shock, MAS E & M investigated and identified the root cause of the issue. Although it was not possible to ascertain if the defect originated from the HMV work at MAS E & M, this highlight has been incorporated as an additional monitoring initiative for future similar work, to eliminate such instances from recurring on all aircraft handled by MAS E & M.
Roslan added, "MAS E & M is a certified approved Maintenance & Repair Organization (MRO) by the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), among others. We are fully committed to executing all aspects of aircraft engineering maintenance with no compromise to safety and security as well as meeting the expectations of both our customers and the global regulatory authorities that have recognized our competencies".
"Concurrently, we are also constantly improving and enhancing our work processes, taking into consideration the latest trends and regular highlights of worldwide aircraft engineering investigation findings to ensure we remain as a leading and preferred MRO of our customers," he said.

Tony said...

I would agree with the previous poster. I strongly believe MAS maintenance division is one of the best in Asia, if not also the world, and for Qantas to question this based on the fact their own engineers were auditing the operations on a constant and regular basis while their planes were being seen to, smacks of trying to look for scapegoats and attention-seeking.

Now if it were Air Asia maintenance on the other hand...heh