Singapore Airlines has issued a press release this morning concerning a small number of code share arrangements with Star Alliance Spanish carrier Spanair.

The jet before crashing, in its wanky Star Alliance means sod all livery.
The Spanair jet before crashing, in its wanky Star Alliance means sod all livery.

It’s no big deal. But I detest the way airlines expect the media and public to have amnesia about airline disasters involving themselves or those they want to do business with. This attitude, that it’s all water under the bridge, is a bit like travel writers extolling the pleasures of a beach in Thailand less than a year after hundreds died on it during the Aceh tsunami. Is it not disrespectful of the dead to push business arrangements that ignore events that are still raw and shocking?

On August 20, 2008, Spanair flight 5022 crashed while taking off from Madrid, killing 154 of the 172 people on board. Drill down through the accident reports and you will find that the crew failed to correctly execute two check-lists that would have alerted them to the flaps not being set for takeoff, while a third safety net, an automated ‘incorrect configuration’ audible warning in the cockpit failed to work.

You can see what can happen when airline standards slip in this YouTube (below) using an airport surveillance video.


Flight standards are the responsibility of the carrier. Spanair killed 154 people through ineffective flight standards. It would have been pertinent for Singapore Airlines to have indicated that it had reviewed the fitness of Spanair today to carry its passengers. But no, not a word .

It’s too soon, it’s too artificial, and it’s not good enough.