Despite criticisms of its environmental effects, the comfort levels endured by the economy passenger, and the financial sustainability of the airline industry, travelling by air remains a memorable experience and a key mode of transport for the global citizen. No matter how many times you have travelled on a plane, the moment those wheels lift from the ground - the symbolic beginning of the real journey - will always generate a thrill of being airborne, travelling at speeds that can transport you from one continent to another within hours. Hong Kong's international status and characteristics were much enhanced by the advent of direct flights to long-haul destinations such as Britain, North America and Australia. And so, while it is with great relief that no one was injured during the dramatic landing of a Qantas Airways Airbus A380 in Singapore, air travellers will expect no less than a detailed report identifying the source of what was described as an 'uncontained engine failure', accompanied by a list of follow-up measures. It is not enough that experts can point out that such aircraft fly safely with only two engines operating and pilots are trained to handle such situations, for it is not only the safety of passengers which is at stake, but also consumer confidence in travelling by air to countries on the other side of the world - a crucial factor in the health of the global economy. When another Qantas plane, this time a Boeing 747, made an emergency landing after an engine caught fire the day after the Airbus incident, headlines turned the 'flying Kangaroo' into the 'falling Kangaroo'. These incidents aside, the arrival of the Airbus A380, dubbed the 'superjumbo' and the expected Boeing 787 'dreamliner' have rejuvenated much needed interest in the glamour of air travel. Despite the dawn of the age of the internet, or indeed because of it, the ability to provide personal human interaction remains the mark of a good business, or a healthy family. Air travel enables us to expand our horizons while maintaining human contact. Global citizens expect to be assured it is safe to travel by air.