PETALING JAYA: As the outpouring of grief continues over Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) conveyed his condolences to all families of passengers and crew on board the ill-fated flight.
However, he questioned the need to search the oceans for planes when available technology - in the form of deployable flight locators - is not being utilised.
"It seems that while Airbus is ready to move forward with a deployable flight data and voice recorder system for commercial aircraft, Boeing - which has installed deployable recorders on at least three military aircraft fleets - disagrees that the technology is appropriate or safe for commercial transport," he said in a post on his blog, chedet.cc, on Thursday.
Dr Mahathir was quoting an article from the Flight International magazine, dated Oct 14, 2014, which detailed another rift in the competitive landscape between Airbus and Boeing.
He said that the Airbus concept involves deploying one of the two sets of flight data and cockpit voice recorders in the event of a mid-air collision or impact with the ground.
The deployed unit, which includes a locator beacon, is designed to float if the crash occurs in water.
"Just imagine if this recorder and beacon is installed on the Air Asia Indonesia aircraft or MH370, we would not have to search the oceans for the planes," he said, noting his inability to understand why Boeing is against the move.
Citing another Dec 2006 article of FlightGlobal.com, Dr Mahathir said Boeing had received a US patent for a system that "allows seizure of an aircraft by remote control" as a prevention measure against terrorist hijacking.
"Boeing had made no comment on its powerful capability. And MH370 has not been found till now.
"And now Boeing seems to be unwilling to make finding lost aircrafts easier and faster, possibly saving lives as well. Why?" he queried.