Thursday, June 20, 2024

Air accidents in the court of public opinion

A look at how NGOs can contribute to efforts to win back the lost public trust in Iran’s aviation industry.

On August 24, Iran, a Tehran-based daily, ran an op-ed dubbed “Air accidents in the court of public opinion” in which director of Iran Flight Association Mehdi Iranmanesh analyzed the attitude of members of the public toward the aviation industry. He also shed light on measures that can be taken by Non-Governmental Organizations to reclaim the lost public trust in the industry. The following is a translation of his thoughts on the matter:

It seems that a public perception has been already formed when it comes to air accidents, and people are under the impression that air travel is equal to accident and possible loss of life. Wide circulation of satirical text messages about air crashes and individual comments coupled with rumors are the result of a climate of distrust in the aviation industry.

It is worth noting that in terms of severity and extent of damage, air accidents have caused Iran’s civil society irreparable damage in recent years. Among other things, public doubt over air travel, distrust in flight crew, underappreciation of the tireless efforts of pilots, aircraft engineers, flight attendants, aircraft maintenance technicians, control tower experts, airport staff members and other aviation experts are striking examples of such profound distrust in the industry.

In light of the distrust hanging over the industry, however, one can claim that the services presented by Iran’s aviation society in recent years at a time when the country has been under unfair Western sanctions have been unrivalled and unique.

The Civil Aviation Organization and NGOs can play a noticeable role in efforts to win back the lost trust in the industry. Unfortunately, the Civil Aviation Organization has failed to present the public with enoughand adequate information. In other words, it has appeared weak when it comes to dissemination of information.

NGOs should hold different meetings and lend support to the aviation industry in order to give reassurances to the public. The following measures could improve the image the public has in mind about the aviation industry:

  1. NGOs can raise public awareness about public legal rights as far as air travel is concerned.
  2. NGOs should seek transparency when information about air accidents is released by state organizations and also demand further clarification about precautionary measures to stop similar accidents in the future.
  3. They should also fight for civil and social rights of aviation experts, and victims of air accidents, including flight crew as well as anyone who is injured, through legal means.
  4. They can finally study the impact of unfair sanctions on the aviation industry and try to elaborate on what unfolds in the aftermath of an air accident in Iranian families and then inform the countries who claim to be human rights advocates of the destructive effects of sanctions on Iranian people and flight crew in a bid to have the sanctions lifted.
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