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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Update on EgyptAir Flight 804. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 20, 2016 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:00]

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RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Good evening from Beijing. I'm Richard Quest as we continue our coverage, the two breaking news stories, first of all,

you've just from the events taking place at the White House. We've brought you up to date with that and now breaking news events taking place

concerning EgyptAir Flight 804.

And in the last couple of hours, there have been revelations minutes ago that we've been following, which now suggest there may have been a fire on

board the A320, the Airbus A320 plane, which went down on a flight between Paris and Cairo.

Data, satellite data received by the ACARS system -- you will remember this is the system that saves data from the aircraft to the ground now suggests

that at a particular point, the plane may have suffered some form of inflight fire.

The details are not entirely certain, but the ACARS report shows on timings exactly similar to when the Greeks say they lost contact with the aircraft,

that there were two faults that came from the aircraft.

One was a lavatory sensor fire and then another was a fire in the avionics section of the aircraft.

Jean-Claude Troadec (ph) is on the line, a former BEA official, who is well versed in investigating these issues.

Sir, first of all, let me test the line.

Can you hear me?

JEAN-CLAUDE TRENIAK (PH), FORMER BEA OFFICIAL: Yes, I can hear you.

But I must say that I was not aware of this information.

QUEST: Jean-Paul -- well, in which case, allow me to tell you what we know and so that you can -- I'm going to read it directly from what I -- what

I've got in front of me.

It's an ACARS report that shows avionics smoke at 0027 and then it said -- an ACARS report showing that 29 minutes past on local time, on Zulu time,

auto flight control unit second fault; flight control sec three faults.

Now, these are a variety of faults which appear to be indicated from the A320, from the plane.

First of all, your initial thought on what this would mean.

TROADEC (PH): Well, I think that as you know, the (INAUDIBLE) of the technical accident was not really considered by most people. But I said

that you should consider this a possibility because in the past you had some accident with this type of (INAUDIBLE) of the aircraft due to a

technical failure.

So it could be the case. ACARS information is a very important information. Of course you know that the giva (ph) data on the technical statutes (ph)

of many system (ph) on this aircraft and they are automatically transmitted to the ground.

So it's very important information and maybe it means that there is a technical problem in this aircraft, maybe. But the source of the fire

could also be from an explosion.

So you also have to consider the possibility of this possibility.

QUEST: Right and as I looked further at this ACARS data, Troadec (ph), it starts off at 26 minutes past with a smoke lavatory smoke; 27, avionics

smoke; 28, fixed (ph) window sensor, right side fixed window center; 29, auto flight control unit fault; 29, flight control SEC, three faults.

This is the sort of thing we saw with 447, isn't it, that when something goes wrong, ACARS starts sending out multiple messages, telling the ground

that there is a fault onboard the aircraft.

Now I might've expected to see more messages. But clearly, obviously, if the plane is failing, than the ACARS system could also be failing.

Is that correct.

TROADEC (PH): Yes, it's correct, because the ACARS driven by the onboard electricity, (INAUDIBLE) system (INAUDIBLE) the aircraft system cannot

transmit information.

But can you say that the different fires were at the same time or at different moments?

QUEST: They are, according to the -- according to the ACARS report, it looks as if they're just --

[16:05:00]

QUEST: -- a minute apart. 26, you've got smoke lavatory; 27, you've got avionics smoke; 28, you've got fixed window sensor; 29, you've got the

flight control units and the flight control SEC starting to fail.

Now for just -- give us a -- because as we understand this, let's talk about fires on board planes. The two ones that I always think about,

obviously Swissair over the northeast coast of the United States and Canada, and, of course, ValuJet.

Jean-Paul, fire is absolute -- on an aircraft is absolutely lethal, isn't it?

TROADEC (PH): Yes, it is. Yes, absolutely it is most important failure you can imagine for a pilot. But (INAUDIBLE) the fire -- the fire do not

destroy the aircraft suddenly (ph). There is some time to destroy the aircraft.

So in this case, it seemed that the event has been very sudden and that the pilot had no time to react and to send a message.

QUEST: And as you rightly point out, although we have these warnings of fire, we have no indication of what may have caused that fire, which does

not preclude the possibility of an explosion leading to a fire.

And the suddenness -- because fire doesn't tend to suddenly, as you rightly say, Jean-Paul, it does not suddenly destroy the aircraft.

TROADEC (PH): Yes, so I think -- so we cannot exclude of course it is a technical accident. We cannot exclude (INAUDIBLE) so it was an explosion.

So (INAUDIBLE) of the black boxes, of course, will be of major importance.

And the discovery of the debris also because this debris can have a (INAUDIBLE) of explosion.

QUEST: Sir, thank you very much for joining us and putting that into perspective. It's our late-breaking news, Jean-Paul Troadec (ph), thank

you very much.

We've talked about at that aspect, the late-breaking news, CNN has obtained from an Egyptian sources, just as I was saying with Jean-Paul Troadec (ph),

flight data from the aircraft communications addressing reporting system known as ACARS from EgyptAir 804, it shows smoke alerts on board the

aircraft in the minutes before the crash.

On the line now is Egypt's tourism minister, who joins me to talk about this. He joins me via Skype.

The events of the lost few days -- Minister, first of all, let me make sure you can hear me, Mohamed Yehia Rashed, joining me via Skype from Cairo.

Can you hear me, sir?

MOHAMED YEHIA RASHED, EGYPTIAN TOURISM MINISTER: Yes, I can hear you.

QUEST: First of all, I understand, obviously you've been listening to our discussion there and we'll come into the tourism aspect of this in a

moment, but this latest development that we are reporting that there does appear or at least that have been warnings of a fire on board the plane.

However, that fire may have started, whether a bomb or otherwise, what's your initial thought as regards to that?

And I do appreciate, sir, you're hearing this, possibly for the first time now.

What's your first thoughts?

RASHED: I think the most important at this point of time is that we should make no speculation about what has taken place. I think your earlier

guest has mentioned -- and right so -- that, you know, the situation should be based on facts and, therefore, the importance of finding the black box

indicating what actually has went on that precisely during the times where the crash has taken place.

QUEST: A very important and salutary reminder to all of us as we deal with these individual pieces of information. Now let's talk about Egypt and how

you, sir, are going to handle what is, by any definition now, has to be a crisis.

You have had several security issues over the last year; tourism is a crucial, vital part of the Egyptian economy.

And tourism is suffering, isn't it?

RASHED: Well, the first thing first is actually we should pay our condolences, our prayers and such to the families and friends for those

that --

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-- has lost their loved ones.

This is a very, very important thing that we all need to reconcile. We need to show solidarity. This is much, much more important than actually going

into any of the fact.

This is a moment of solidarity, of showing that basically we care about the human beings, whether Egyptian or non-Egyptian. It doesn't matter. Human

being and human lives are very important.

And we really care and we want to show that we are fully supportive of the families and the friends and do whatever we can do.

As far as your point about the threats (ph), the conditions, what have you, you know, terrorism is a global issue. This is not happening in Egypt by

itself. It happened in the White House a few minutes ago. It happens in France. It happened in the U.K. It happens in Belgium.

So one should not characterize this as being country-specific. This is a worldwide global issue. Now what we need to think about in global way is -

- and you are in China, as I understand while, you know, the -- a lot of tourism ministers and events are happening.

What we wanted to remind people is that tourism is a lifestyle. Tourism is a mean of prosperity, of hope, of positivity and we need to show this to

the people. We need to get people off the track of just being critical or negative or what have you. We all share this universe.

And Egypt had the best and the most important civilization in the universe and we want to return tourism back to Egypt efficiently, fast and, more

importantly, we've let the people of the world enjoy the treasury of -- the treasures of Egypt.

QUEST: Now you rightly point out, Minister, that tourism -- but that it's not a unique issue to Egypt; only in the last 24 hours, we have seen the

share price of Thompson fall very sharply because of lack of bookings as a result.

We've heard from Eurostar that train bookings to Brussels are down because of terrorism and the threat of terrorism.

But return to Egypt, so I accept your point that it is not unique and everybody. if you like, is in this boat together. But with that in mind,

Minister, you have the unique task of bringing visitors to Egypt. And you have to do so at a time of heightened concern.

So what more can you do to reassure visitors that they are safe?

RASHED: I think, as we all say, you know, what we need to do is we need to ensure and give the message that we, as people, live in this universe, are

sharing the concern, are doing the job that we, as tourism professional need to do, whether this is basically, you know, tightening security,

whether this is raising more on the -- on the safety of the people.

But more important, let the people enjoy life, let the government take the hand of tourism because this is not a political issue. This is a social and

economical issue. The human rights -- one of the human rights is the freedom to travel, the freedom to move around.

And we need to make travel, tourism --

(CROSSTALK)

RASHED: -- faster and more accessible to people.

You know, the question here is how you actually make sure that we are united in this world, that we have solidarity, you know, and most important

that we move around easily and freely.

QUEST: Minister, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it and thank you for taking the questions this evening on obviously the events as they are

happening and a salutary reminder to us to, of course, maintain the lack of speculation and stick to the facts.

Minister, we that. Always good to talk to you and we look forward to talk to you again next week, the Egyptian tourism minister joining me now.

The civil aviation authority in Egypt, in Cairo, has formed a committee to investigate the crash. In Cairo, our correspondent is Arwa Damon.

Arwa --

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QUEST: -- you are hearing at the same time that we are talking about, this latest development, which does show -- we're now getting the first

indications of some form of in-flight fire on the 804. We don't know the reasons why, whether this was a fire as a result of a bomb or whatever it

might be, or independently a fire.

How will they be dealing with it?

What will be -- what is being made of it in Cairo?

Good evening to you.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this stage, the authorities aren't really saying anything publicly. And that's not

entirely surprising because, despite the fact that we did hear the minister of civil aviation fairly quickly come out after the plane went down and say

that he believed that it was most likely terrorism as opposed to technical failure, the Egyptians are not exactly known for being up front or quick to

disclose any sort of information.

So we're waiting and trying to get some more details from the various different relevant authorities.

Richard, at this stage, there's been a lot of speculation surrounding all of this, as you know very well, a lot of speculation into what went wrong

and how it could have been prevented.

There's been a lot of anger and frustration on the part of those who lost loved ones in this crash because they don't feel as if they're getting

enough information quickly enough.

And given everything that they have gone through they most certainly feel as if they deserve to be kept more up to date.

Our correspondent, Ian Lee, earlier in the day, went to the mosque during Friday prayers, where they were prayers on this particular day for the

crew members who had died, their family members were there, some of their colleagues were there.

And they were expressing their anger at the fact that they themselves were being blamed for this to a certain degree.

QUEST: The families are front and foremost at the moment and this idea that they have been questioned and how the families are being treated,

Arwa, you know, I've covered many incidents before, but I've never really heard this accusation before, that the families are, to some extent, being

almost interrogated.

Why is this?

DAMON: It's difficult to tell, Richard, because they do feel, to a certain degree, that perhaps there is -- and there is probably going to be,

depending on how this does pan out, some sort of investigation once again into all of the passengers and the crew members, if it does, in fact, end

up being an act of terrorism.

But I think the families, especially the families of the crew members, feel as if there is a narrative out there, that somehow the crew or EgyptAir or

Egypt itself was responsible for this plane coming down.

And they do feel as if that is blame that is being unfairly placed. And perhaps it is blame that is being placed on Egypt because of Egypt's past

when it comes to these types of incidences, whether it's the Metrojet airliner that went down over the Sinai back in October, where the Egyptians

took quite a while before they came out and frankly admitted that, yes, it was an act of terrorism or a number of other instances where either Egypt

or Egyptian airlines were involved.

So I think there's a certain level of anger and frustration at this stage.

QUEST: Arwa Damon who is in Cairo for us this evening, Arwa, we thank you.

Allow me to just pause for a moment and regroup on where we are at the moment.

Several strands: there is ACARS reporting data that might suggest that there was some form of in-flight fire, howsoever caused, onboard the

aircraft EgyptAir 804. That's the latest news that's come out in the last hour or so.

Also at the same time, the search goes on in the Eastern Mediterranean, where various parts of aircraft and indeed parts of remains of those on

board all now being located and recovered.

David Gallo is from Columbia University and the Center for Climate and Life (ph).

David joins me now.

David, first of all, help me understand the depths, the currents, the sort of waters that they are now searching in that part of the Med, that -- you

know, I always think of the Med of where I go on holiday of Southern Europe as being sort of a rather jolly sea, a rather lightweight type of sea.

But --

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QUEST: -- in this part of the Med it's very different.

DAVID GALLO, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Yes, not lightweight at all. And in fact in this part of the Mediterranean, the water depth can be down to a

3,000-4,000 meters, maybe even deeper.

And the one benefit -- and I hate to use that term very carefully -- is that this area is fairly close to land. So logistically it's easier to get

out of the search area than it is, say, with Malaysia Airlines 370.

QUEST: Right. But how deep is the water in that particular area?

Because I've seen two reports, one suggesting it's about 1,000-1,500 meter -- feet deep but others suggesting it may be several thousand feet deep.

So in that particular vicinity, how deep is it?

GALLO: Well, it can be -- it depends on how far away from land it is and I've heard 180 miles. The big thing there to shape the seafloor is the Nile

Delta. You've got sediments coming down the Nile River and emptying onto the floor of the Mediterranean, which makes it a nice, soft, sedimented

seafloor, as opposed to a -- relatively flat as opposed to huge mountains that rival the Alps or the Rocky Mountain in the U.S.

So the seafloor is relatively smooth and flat and probably sediment- covered, but the depth is, again 4,000 meters or 3,000 meters. That means mounting a full-blown deepwater expedition to find, to locate and then to

retrieve objects from that aircraft.

QUEST: Now some hours ago I was asked a similar question and I said that I didn't believe finding the debris and then ultimately the aircraft would

be that onerous because it's not that far from shore and it is a fairly -- it's a more favorable environment.

Was I wrong?

Is it going to be a very -- a much more onerous task to actually locate?

For example, more akin to AirAsia in the Java Sea, but certainly not as bad as MH370?

Well, but there again, remember, Richard, even though AirAsia was in the Java Sea, but the visibility and the currents were impossible, very

difficult to deal with. So there's always trade-offs. I mean, the water depth here is great so that means very robust robots and special robots and

cameras and sonars. And that means a very special ship, and more importantly, means a very special team of people that knows how to work in

deepwater.

But the trade-offs could well be -- so that's difficult. The trade-off is that you're logistically close to port. So once you do assemble a search

team, it's relatively easy to get out to the site.

So I don't think you were wrong, necessarily, but --

QUEST: David Gallo, we are very -- well (INAUDIBLE) -- you can say I was wrong --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: -- David Gallo, thank you very much indeed. Always --

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: -- we look forward to talking to you again, David Gallo joining me -- David, we always look forward to your expertise when it comes

(INAUDIBLE) and no doubt we'll need a lot of your expertise as we move along.

It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We're live in Beijing tonight and obviously we are mainly covering the events of EgyptAir 804. There are new

developments, which I'll update you once again in the tragedy.

We'll also look at the question of the scrutiny of the airport where 804 originated. We've got variety of airports involved here, from Cairo to

Eritrea to Tunis. But most importantly, Paris Charles de Gaulle. We'll be live in the French capital as QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from Beijing continues.

Good evening to you.

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QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, live in Beijing. It's 25 to 5:00 in the morning. Dawn is just arriving in the Chinese capital as we continue on

the QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

As the program moves on, we're going to investigate reports that there may have been some kind of fire on board the crashed EgyptAir flight.

The relevance of what happens and how significant that is, the cause we don't. But we'll analyze what it might mean.

We'll also be live at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, where security is already being increased. Before we move any further, though, this is CNN

and, on this network, the news always comes first.

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RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Good evening and good morning to you from Beijing, from the Chinese capital, we're following the latest developments

as it relates to EgyptAir 804.

CNN has learned that there have been a variety of warnings from the so- called ACARS warning system that suggest there was smoke aboard the flight in the minutes before it crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

According to a screen grab that we've obtained from the ACARS, the aircraft communications addressing reporting system, know is ACARS, the timestamps

match directly the approximate times that the aircraft went missing. according to the Greek authorities.

CNN's safety analyst, David Soucie, joins me from New York.

David, you see this ACARS data -- forgive me; I'm just going to grab my BlackBerry so that I can go through it with you as we parse and understand

what it means.

David.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Yes, so what we have here is -- I'm looking at it, too, as we were --

QUEST: What do you -- go ahead, David, go ahead, go ahead.

SOUZA: OK, I'm sorry. So what I see here is that we've got -- these are legitimate aircraft records from what I can tell. So I'm not going to

question the validity here because that's a separate issue, so what we'll look at here is what this is actually telling us, all right?

So you look down towards the smoke lavatory smoke. What that's telling is that there's a laboratory smoke indicator in there and this is transmitted

on the ACARS system.

Below that you have the avionics smoke; below that you have the auto flight fault. You have all of the faults that come down below that.

Now above that we have the anti-ice window and the anti-ice window sensor.

Now this is an area that has had problems before, Richard, this is something that, that anti-ice in the winter -- remember that window is

very, very thick window so to anti-ice that, it's an electric window, it's electric charge. So there has been problems with this in the past.

So that would indicate to me, looking at this, that that rear left window behind the pilot, the copilot would've -- could've caught fire and caused

this fire to propagate into and beyond into the -- into the lavatory.

QUEST: Right. Now what I'm also seeing, as I look at those same -- at this same data -- David, we could be looking -- I'm you talk about the

anti-ice, the sliding window sensor, the smoke lavatory. They're all roughly the same time. These are the first warnings that one would expect

to see from the ACARS system. They don't tell us the provenance, if you like, of the fire or the reason for the fire, do they?

SOUCIE: No, they don't. What they don't tell us with the sources they tell us the location. Now something to point out, Richard, though, too, is

that location is above the ENE compartment in this airplane. Right directly below that in the ENE, the electronics equipment components area,

is the communications as well.

So communications would have gone out. That's also where the transponder would be for the secondary radar responses, which we lost shortly after

that as well. So this is a very critical part of the aircraft. This is where a lot of things go on.

So -- but, again, like you said, what's the sources of mechanical failure to cause it?

Or is it an incendiary device that could have been placed there as well?

The -- we have no idea. We don't know how to know that at this point. But we will as soon as we get the black boxes, we'll get more information.

QUEST: I was slightly surprised when I first saw this, that there weren't more warnings or failures. In Air France 447, David Soucie, we had 24

warnings as different systems failed as the plane stalled.

But -- and here you have the two big ones are the auto flight control unit and the flight control SEC, three fault. They are the two biggies and they

show fundamental parts of the aircraft avionics starting to fail, don't they?

SOUCIE: Yes, they do.

And, again, Richard, it goes into the fact that the ACARS itself is collocated with communications, too. So what this tells me is that it

wasn't a sudden catastrophic failure. Sudden catastrophic failure would not have given time for this reporting to occur.

You notice this is over about one minute to a little more than one minute during these time reporting periods. So what that tells me is that it

propagated, it started in one point; it propagated itself forward.

And if you look at this, it appears that the window gave the warnings before the lavatory warnings.

QUEST: The only thing -- just before we finish here, David, I just want to finish on, is if I look back at the two -- the two fire incidents that we

always talk about, both Swissair and ValuJet, both many -- Swissair many years ago; ValuJet even more -- in both cases, in Swissair, it was a 21-

minute gap from them discovering fire to the plane being lost.

ValuJet was only a 4-minute gap. But in both cases, the pilots were able to get away some sort of mayday.

Now they wouldn't have been able to do so here if, as you say, the ENE bay was affected or, for example, all coms were lost because of the nature of

the failure.

Is that right?

SOUCIE: That's exactly right, Richard, because, in the case of ValuJet, there were oxygen generators that were in the aircraft. It was back in a

cargo area so they had time to respond before the fire got to any kind of communication.

Swissair was a similar situation as well, where it was not collocated with the communication devices.

So this is where this is unique from those other two incidences that we -- incidents that we speak of.

Now the other one that we need to talk about is on the ground when the 777, another EgyptAir, caught on fire and caused a hole through the aircraft on

the aircraft and in the cockpit. That's the one that we need to compare this to because it's a similar location.

And it would also tell you how quickly it propagated, so much so that the pilots barely had time to get out of the cockpit, even though they were on

the ground and didn't even have their safety belts on at the time. That's how quickly it can propagate in this area.

QUEST: And that was as a result of, as I recall, it was a loose oxygen hose, which had sparked a fire just off to the side of the cockpit.

David Soucie, we are grateful that we have you on board to give us guidance and understanding, David Soucie joining us from New York.

The focus of the investigation is inevitably security, from however the flight originated, and that is at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the second

largest airport in Europe, behind London Heathrow, 65 million passengers a year, the headquarters and main hub of Air France.

In the last few hours, 30 extra intelligence officers are being added on the ground at the airport. But it is an interesting statistic. There are

86,000 workers at CDG that are known as Red Badges. That allows them access to secure areas, 86,000.

And since January of last year, 85 employees lost their security clearances for alleged extremist ties or other radicalized and potential threats.

Atika Shubert is our correspondent, who is at Charles de Gaulle Airport for us tonight.

First of all, the airport itself is, to some extent, bristling, isn't it, with the allegation that they are, in some cases or in some respects, lax

on security.

Post "Charlie Hebdo," post Brussels, they have ramped up security quite dramatically at Charles de Gaulle.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You point out that they're going to appoint 30 intelligence agents starting in

just a few weeks.

Well, that's on top of the 5,700 security agents, who are already in place here. Every 20 minutes or so you can see a unit of armed soldiers, for

example, walking through the terminal. There are spot checks throughout the terminal and leading to the terminals here, of passengers with their

suitcases.

And that doesn't even begin to describe what happens to those personnel with those red badges, trying to access those restricted areas. They, too,

have to go through those checks, making sure that they're carrying no liquids, checking their laptop, any other items they're carrying.

Their personal lockers are quite often regularly and randomly checked and swept through.

So there is stringent security in place. But as even Charles de Gaulle airport officials have told us, nothing is ever 100 percent and that is why

they are going over the checks to see if there was any weak link there.

But so far, they have not found anything.

QUEST: Atika, when I saw the number 86,000, you know, one initially thinks, good grief. You'll never manage. I mean, that's a vast number of

people. But then you think about the size of the airport and you realize everything from maintenance, catering, check and dispatch, whatever it

might be.

So that number, 86,000, starts to become reasonable when you appreciate the size of the airport, correct?

SHUBERT: Absolutely, half a million flights come out of here every year. To service that kind of traffic, you do need an extraordinary number of

people coming in and out.

And you're right, it's everything from baggage handlers to catering, to specialist technicians, security and so forth. So it's going to take a lot

of people.

The question is, do they have the systems in place to screen people?

And everybody with a red badge must be screened by police. They do get checked periodically and, just for extra measure, the airport authorities

actually revoked passes for up to 85 people for security risk, meaning that they may have had some association, whatever link they may have had to any

Islamist group or any other way they could be compromised, even if there only a shred of possibility, they will have their badges removed.

QUEST: Atika Shubert, who is at Charles de Gaulle for us this evening. It is morning, in fact it is quarter to 5:00 in the morning here in Beijing.

Daylight has arrived. You can see sort of -- I'm never sure in the Chinese capital whether what I'm looking at when I look out is a morning mist or

the remnants of yesterday's smog about fiercely come back to bite you for another day.

Whatever it is, in a moment or two after the break, we're going to be talking to the former head of the IATA, the International Air Transport

Association, Giovanni Bisignani. He doesn't think EgyptAir has mishandled Flight 804.

But I need to know from him exactly what might've happened. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We're in Beijing.

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QUEST: Morning in Beijing. It is coming up to 10 to 5:00, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We're in the Chinese capital. You may be well wondering why --

and it is not an unreasonable question -- we are here, of course; we were hoping to be doing a lot more about trade and the issue of Donald Trump and

the how the Chinese government and the economy of China, all those sorts of issues we would been talking about here in Beijing.

But the news agenda doesn't allow and obviously the events of EgyptAir 804 reset our agenda as they reset the agenda of everybody else.

The note, though, once we're back in New York next week, all the material that we have been gathering over the course of the last week on this

important political and trade issue, we will be bringing to you.

But we do continue our discussion tonight and our coverage tonight on the issues of 804. And Giovanni Bisignani is the former head of IATA, the

International Air Transport Association, good friend of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

He has personal experience working with EgyptAir.

Giovanni, good to see you from London, you advised -- you assisted, you guided EgyptAir. To those people who now say EgyptAir has a security

issue, what would your reply be?

GIOVANNI BISIGNANI, FORMER HEAD OF IATA: Well, I would reply with figures and facts, EgyptAir is a member of IATA. It's an airline operating since

84 years.

In the year 2000, they had some problems; the minister of transport traffique (ph) asked the assistance of IATA. We rebuilt and reshaped the

airline and it's now in very good shape.

Second point, the plane, it's a 320, Airbus 320, a great plane, operating in the airline since 2003, captain and copilot very experienced.

Third point, what happened?

The timing of the event I think was the most important situation to evaluate; 1:25 in the morning. Good weather. There is a contact between

the pilot and the Greek air traffic control. It was a pleasant conversation.

Five minutes after, everything changed.

Why?

Because a plane that diverts from 90 degrees to 360 degrees is something amazing, something really happened in that moment.

The plane dropped --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: So Giovanni, hang on, Giovanni, do you believe, as you look at -- we're here, we're reporting tonight about ACARS data, which showed some

form of in-flight fire, however it was caused.

Do you believe that we are looking at a security question here or a mechanical issue?

BISIGNANI: I would say it's a security question, referring to your -- this smoke detection and so on, if it was a serious issue, they were not able to

communicate. Instead, nothing, nothing happened, and I think so that I would not give a lot of attention to the issue of the smoke.

The problem is what happened in those five minutes when the plane completely lost control?

I see two --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: As you look at the issues -- as you -- hang on; bear with me. As you look at these -- as you look at these issues, Giovanni, finally -- I'm

putting it into some perspective for us.

Does the airline industry need to improve the way it tracks information from planes so we are not searching fast for black boxes?

Does the airline industry need to improve this faster than it is doing?

BISIGNANI: Absolutely. You know the black boxes -- it's a bit of history and we're still living with this piece of history. We have the opportunity

now to transmit all the information in real time without going around and checking for a red -- a black box, that is, in fact, is red.

But also on the fact of the -- of the detection and smoke, we have many, many times some false alarms. So there's a lot to do in any case. But

what is really amazing -- sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Thank you for joining us up from London, Giovanni, we have to take a break there; thank you for joining us from London. Giovanni Bisignani, I

apologize. We have a satellite -- a very bad satellite delay from Beijing to London.

That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. The news coverage continues around the world, around the clock. And this is CNN.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST: Morning in Beijing, it is coming up to 10 to 5:00, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

We're in the Chinese capital. You may be well wondering why -- I mean, it's not an unreasonable question. We are here, of course, we were hoping

to be doing a lot more about trade and the issue of Donald Trump and how the Chinese government and the economy of China, all those sorts of issues

we would have been talking about here in Beijing.

But the news agenda doesn't allow and obviously the events of EgyptAir 804 reset our agenda as they reset the agenda of everybody else.

The note, though, once we're back in New York next week, all the material that we have been gathering over the course of the last week on this

important political and trade issue, we will be bringing to you.

But we do continue our discussion tonight and our coverage tonight on the issues of 804. And Giovanni Bisignani is the former head of IATA, the

International Air Transport Association, good friend of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

He has personal experience working with EgyptAir.

Giovanni, good to see you from London, you advised -- you assisted, you guided EgyptAir. To those people who now say EgyptAir has a security

issue, what would your reply be?

GIOVANNI BISIGNANI, FORMER HEAD OF IATA: Well, I would reply with figures and facts, EgyptAir is a member of IATA. It's an airline operating since

84 years.

In the year 2000, they had some problems; the minister of transport traffique (ph) asked the assistance of IATA. We rebuilt and reshaped the

airline and it's now in very good shape.

Second point, the plane, it's a 320, Airbus 320, a great plane, operating in the airline since 2003, captain and copilot very experienced.

Third point, what happened?

The timing of the event I think was the most important situation to evaluate; 1:25 in the morning. Good weather. There is a contact between

the pilot and the Greek air traffic control. It was a pleasant conversation.

Five minutes after, everything changed.

Why?

Because a plane that diverts from 90 degrees to 360 degrees is something amazing, something really happened in that moment.

The plane dropped --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: So Giovanni, hang on, Giovanni, do you believe, as you look at -- we're here, we're reporting tonight about ACARS data, which showed some

form of in-flight fire, however it was caused.

Do you believe that we are looking at a security question here or a mechanical issue?

BISIGNANI: I would say it's a security question, referring to your -- this smoke detection and so on, if it was a serious issue, they were not able to

communicate. Instead, nothing, nothing happened, and I think so that I would not give a lot of attention to the issue of the smoke.

The problem is what happened in those five minutes when the plane completely lost control?

I see two --

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: As you look at the issues -- as you -- hang on; bear with me. As you look at these -- as you look at these issues, Giovanni, finally -- I'm

putting it into some perspective for us.

Does the airline industry need to improve the way it tracks information from planes so we are not searching fast for black boxes?

Does the airline industry need to improve this faster than it is doing?

BISIGNANI: Absolutely. You know the black boxes -- it's a bit of history and we're still living with this piece of history. We have the opportunity

now to transmit all the information in real time without going around and checking for a red -- a black box, that is, in fact, is red.

But also on the fact of the -- of the detection and smoke, we have many, many times some false alarms. So there's a lot to do in any case. But

what is really amazing -- sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

QUEST: Thank you for joining us up from London, Giovanni, we have to take a break there; thank you for joining us from London. Giovanni Bisignani, I

apologize. We have a satellite -- a very bad satellite delay from Beijing to London.

That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. The news coverage continues around the world, around the clock. And this is CNN.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

QUEST: Tonight, a "Profitable Moment," a final thought, if you like, from Beijing.

We are covering a plane crash of EgyptAir 804 and the initial implication of course and the temptation is to try and blame security or to speculate

about the crew or how the pilots were flying the plane. We simply don't know at this moment exactly what brought down the Airbus A320.

But we can make certain statements and come to certain conclusions, even at this early stage. Flying remains the single most safest form of travel

anywhere in the world. You and I have discussed that on many occasions.

Vast resources have been poured in to ensuring the security of the flying and aviation industry. But as somebody who flies more than most, more than

200,000 miles a year, believe me, I have a vested interest, more than you perhaps, in ensuring the safety of the industry upon which I cover.

And the truth is, I'm not at all concerned. I'll get on a plane to fly back from Beijing. I'll be back in New York on Monday. And I'll see you in the

Big Apple, safe and sound next week because that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.

I'm Richard Quest in Beijing. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it will be profitable. I'll see you on Monday in New York.

END