It’s kind of like that joke about the dumb blonde trying to correct a typo by daubing Tipp-Ex on her computer screen; a cover-up job which is ineffective, born of panic and not really thought through.
Yesterday (September 8, 2013), a Thai Airways A330-300 arriving from Guangzhou skidded off the runway at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok. After evacuating the 288 passengers and 14 crew (13 minor injuries), Thai’s next act in dealing with the crisis was to… slap some black paint over the logo on the aircraft’s fuselage and tailfin.
Yes, that’ll do the trick. No grounded aircraft here, folks! Move along please, there’s absolutely nothing to see.
Really, if they’d thought about it properly, they would have used much larger quantities of paint in a nice shade of azure blue to blend in with the sunny Thai sky, and maybe sketched out a few airport buildings along the fuselage for added effect. But no doubt time is short if you want to beat the world’s photographers.
Whoever does Thai think it’s fooling? It doesn’t take a genius to spot the uncanny similarity between Thai aircraft with branding and a Thai aircraft with a bit less branding. Guys, we know it’s you!
Certainly, Thai has reason to be feeling a little nervy about public perceptions right now. Only last month (August 30, 2013), another Thai aircraft – this time an A380-800 – encountered what the airline said was “unforeseen turbulence” on descent into Chek Lap Kok Airport, Hong Kong, resulting in injuries to 20 people onboard.
The latest incident was more serious, however, apparently involving a landing gear malfunction and fire in the right engine (or, as Thai put it, sparks “from the vicinity right landing gear near the engine”). The airline has said it will conduct an investigation.
Thai probably ought to investigate its PR machine, too. Ever wary of giving the flying public the kind of jitters which adversely affect ticket sales, no airline likes to have stricken aircraft photos zipping around the world – but it looks even worse if people suspect a cover-up. Rather than limiting the damage, you’re simply pouring fuel on the fire (as it were).
It’s time for Thai and other paranoid airlines to open up, communicate more honestly and quit acting like dumb blondes (lose the Tipp-Ex, and use spellcheck in future).