PETALING JAYA - The burst tyre incident involving Malaysia Airlines Flight MH192 is unlikely an act of sabotage, said academicians with a leading technical university.
They said disgruntled MAS personnel would most unlikely resort to putting passengers' lives at risk, no matter how angry they were with the management over a host of issues including on wages.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) lecturer Assoc Prof Ir Dr Mohd Dali Isa said this was reflected by the fact that Malaysia held a relatively clean record in the aviation industry.
"Incidents of sabotaging the operations had occurred before, but not to the extent of endangering passengers' lives," said Dr Mohd Dali, who has served 12 years as technical consultant to MAS.
He said acts of sabotage reported included the cutting of wires in the cockpit in 2003, and the suspected arson case involving the MAS avionics workshop in Subang last month.
"The act of cutting the wire bundle in the cockpit had only created an operational setback, and did not in any way put passengers' safety at risk as the aircraft could not take off," he said.
He said this when asked to comment on Sunday night's episode when Flight MH192, bound for Bengaluru (Bangalore), India, was forced to make an air turn back after one of the tyres burst upon take-off.
Dr Mohd Dali noted that Singapore Airlines also recorded a burst tyre on Saturday.
"But the problem in Malaysia is probably amplified because of MH370 that went missing last month along with 239 passengers and crew," he said.
Stressing that burst tyre was a serious matter, Dr Mohd Dali said it could have happened either because of wear and tear or it might have hit something on the runway.
"Like the case of the Air France Concorde jetliner in 2000 that caught fire moments after the tyre burst upon hitting a titanium strip on the runway," he said.
UniKL principal specialist Ahmad Maulan Bardai lauded the MH192 pilot for securing a safe landing in such a challenging situation.
"MAS is very particular when it comes to safety, that is why it has in place good policies in terms of maintenance, training and appointment of captains," he said.
Ahmad Maulan, who has served MAS for 30 years, also vouched for the integrity of its employees where safety is concerned.
"Overall, Malaysians are a responsible lot," said Ahmad Maulan, who joined UniKL Malaysia International Aviation Technology eight years ago.