Director General and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, speaks during IATA's 70th Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar, on June 2, 2014. / Faisal al-Tamimi, AFP/Getty Images
DOHA, Qatar -- The head of the world's largest airline trade group said he doesn't "blame" the media for MH370 coverage that's been criticized by many for being wildly speculative.
The Boeing 777 carrying Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared March 8 and little has been determined about the fate of the plane and 239 souls onboard. Since then, media outlets have devoted copious time and space to the story, some breathlessly sticking with the story day after day even as there were no new facts to report.
"It's inevitable," Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said Tuesday when asked if he's been frustrated by the amount of media speculation on MH370.
"It's a very, very interesting story. It's got a huge human angle. My heart goes out to those poor people," Tyler said.
But he acknowledged there's much public interest on the topic.
"Everyone's interested in aviation," he said. "So I'm not going to blame the media. People want to hear about it."
"I don't want to speculate. Everyone involved in the industry doesn't want to speculate," Tyler continued. "People out there, they want to hear what people who might know think. 'What happened to it?' I think everybody's thinking that. And, 'what can we do about it now?' So you're going to get people speculating. It makes like very difficult for the poor people who have to handle it, but it's understandable."
When asked if he thought the media's coverage might also be fueled by the fact that people are "dumbfounded" that a wide-body jet could simply go missing in 2014, Tyler said:
"I think that's one of the things. That's just surprising. That is surprising as much to me as it is to everyone else that such a thing could happen."
Tyler's MH370 comments, which came to a small group of reporters on the sidelines of IATA's annual general meeting, were prompted by a question about his most surprising challenge during his time at IATA.
"It's MH370," he said to that question. "It's something that's on my mind all the time. It has been since March 8."
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