Missing Malaysian aircraft impacts opinions in local community

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by Melissa Delekta- Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE – When Malaysian airlines flight 370 went missing on March 8 eyes around the world were opened to the gaps that still exist in regards to air travel safety. The Boeing 777, which disappeared in the middle of its flight from Malaysia to Beijing, has yet to be found.

Local Opinions

The case, which has international officials at a loss for an explanation, also raised concern among Grand Ledge residents.

“I was very surprised to learn from television reports that the transponders on passenger aircraft can be easily turned off by pilots or others on a plane,” Kalmin Smith said, Grand Ledge Mayor. “Something needs to be done about that, for sure.”

Ashley Melnick, junior at near by Michigan State University, is from New York, and so she flies home several times a year.

“Before the disappearance it never occurred to me that an entire plane could go missing,” Melnick said. “It was really a shock to me that in this day and age a 250, passenger flight could just fall of the face of the earth.”

Photo by Melissa Delekta

Photo by Melissa Delekta

Citizens feel changes need to be made

Smith’s main take away from all of this is that changes need to be made to flight procedures in smaller countries.

“The United States, Japanese and European governments need to pressure ‘Third World’ countries and airlines to do a better job and be more cooperative when it comes to the safety and security of civilian aircrafts, passengers and crews,” Smith said.

Melnick feels similarly.

“I feel like there should be as strong of regulations in place for airlines all over the world as there is in America,” Melnick said. “It would make international travel much safer if potential hijackers and terrorists knew that there were airtight safety protocols and security measures effective in all airports.”

Photo by Melissa Delekta

Photo by Melissa Delekta

Local Ramifications

While many people are baffled as to what has happened to the plane, it has not seemed to have a negative impact on the local travel industry.

“There has been no impact of air service or customers that I have seen,” said Director of Marketing and Passenger Development at Capital City Airport, Nicole Noll-Williams said. “I have had no customer complaints, and it seems to have no direct correlation to our operations.”

Russ Reid, a Grand Ledge based travel agent, has found his customers have not let the incident affect their travel planes.

“I think that travelers look at it as an isolated event,” Reid said. “No one has really mentioned it while booking trips.”

For questions, concerns, or comments contact Melissa Delekta at delektam@msu.edu

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