There are 634 runways where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could have landed; 4 airports deserve careful scrutiny

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has now been missing for 10 days. Ten days without a physical trace. The last evidence of the flight was a “data ping” – an electronic connection or “handshake” made by a satellite more than 7 hours after takeoff. A summary of events to date is here.

Malaysian officials no longer consider the disappearance of the flight to be an accident, but a deliberate diversion. In addition to the needle-in-a-football-field ocean search, the possibility of a ground landing somewhere is now being considered. Within the arc of the area where it is believed the plane could have flown, it has been estimated that there are 634 airports that met the length requirements for a Boeing 777 to land. Three of those airports may warrant some closer examination, along with a 4th that is outside the area currently being searched.

There are 4 airports outside of Malaysia that have close connections to Malaysia Airlines. Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) is a Malaysian airport company that manages most of the airports in Malaysia, and recently began to manage airports in international destinations. They have partnered in varying ways on the development and management of these airports with GMR Group , an infrastructural company based in India that has interests in the areas of Airports, Energy, Highways and Urban Infrastructure.

MAHB currently manages 3 international airports outside Malaysia. They are: Continue reading

Security, spycraft, beating the system: what fascinates us about the Malaysia Airlines disappearance

In a world where the doors to schools and government buildings and even baseball parks are guarded with metal detectors, where security cameras are recording in routine places, where massive government agencies are storing call metadata and tapping the backbone of the internet, where wireless carriers can pinpoint a cellphone location to within a few feet, and where the CIA can read a license plate from outer space, how in the hell can you lose a 300,000 lb plane with a 200-foot wingspan?

The world is riveted by the unfolding story of the Malaysia Airlines disappearance. Over a week ago, on March 8th, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – a large Boeing 777-200ER – disappeared from radar and air traffic control screens just as it was about to pass from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It sounded no distress call; it left no physical evidence. It seemed to have literally vanished into thin air.

The flight’s disappearance flies in the face of our post-9/11 experiences with TSA x-rays, 3-1-1 liquids bags, and remove-your-shoes rules that slow down the process of flying in the name of security. How, with all of that terror prevention policy and procedure, could something like this have happened? Clearly it must be a tragic accident. But an accident should have left evidence, Continue reading