Tim Clark is the CEO of Emirates Airlines — one of the world's most successful, luxurious, respected, and fastest-growing airlines. He's also a recently-dubbed knight, who has a hunch that Malaysia Airlines flight 370 may not be in the Indian Ocean after all.
It has been over seven months since the Boeing 777-200 with 227 people on board disappeared without a trace. After the Southern Hemisphere winter, the search of the sea floor resumed last Monday. But Clark suggests the search may be focused on the wrong area. The Malaysia government originally refused to release the cargo manifest for public record, but then released a manifest on May 1st. Malaysia Airlines has said on March 17th that the flight carried no dangerous cargo, but the newly-released manifest indicated the plane carried lithium ion batteries.
Emirates Airline CEO, Sir Tim Clark (Associated Press)
Clark's airline, Emirates is the world's largest operator of Boeing 777s, and he has said, "I will continue to ask questions and make a nuisance of myself, even as others would like to bury it. I need to know how anybody could interdict our  systems." Lithium ion batteries are the known culprit for fires on board two Boeing 787s and three Tesla vehicles. In 2010, a UPS 747 was brought down by a fire caused by lithium batteries in the cargo hold. As far back as 2006, Sony replaced millions of Li-ion battery backs for laptop PCs after hundreds overheated and a few caught on fire.
Clark recently gave a very candid interview to Der Speigel, in which he questioned the validity of the search, the cargo manifest, the so-called "satellite hand off" and even the ability of the pilot to disable the plane's transponder. Here's what he told the German newspaper:
"There hasn't been one overwater incident in the history of civil aviation — apart from Amelia Earhart in 1939 — that has not been at least 5 or 10 percent trackable. But MH 370 has simply disappeared. For me, that raises a degree of suspicion. I'm totally dissatisfied with what has been coming out of all of this... We have an obligation to not sweep this under the carpet, but to sort it out and do better than we have done."
Clark's suspicion over MH370's watery grave is due to the fact that not a single piece of debris has been located, "not even a seat cushion." I have maintained from the beginning that if the plane had hit the ocean surface, it would have broken up and left floating debris on the surface. There are a lot of non-absorbent plastic parts on an airplane. If it had been successfully ditched a la the "Miracle on the Hudson," survivors would have contacted loved ones. without a doubt. So if MH370 didn't end up in the Southern Indian Ocean. where did it go? If it's on land, where are the passengers? Are they being held captive? Have they all been executed? When will we know? What if we never know?
Top photo: MH370 search map, via Associated Press