Even in a world where consumer protection is not always a priority, the news that the Boeing jets that crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia this year — 346 lives lost — did not have two important safety features because the manufacturer regarded them as extras and charged for them is shocking.
Surely safety is paramount and anything that can be done, any device that can make a contribution to making air travel safer, cannot be described as optional.
After all, there’s hardly much point in making passengers run a rigorous security gauntlet at increasingly unattractive airports only to herd them onto planes that for cost reasons are not as safe as they might be.
Aircraft manufacturers, airlines and regulators will insist that all jets or planes are as safe as they need to be.
These two crashes challenge that. A good first step would be an obligation on all airlines to publish an internationally-recognised and easily understood safety rating indicating whether they have safety “extras” in place or not. Then, travellers could decide which airline they wish to use.