Industry, governments address safety over conflict zones

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The aviation industry has called for better information and better control of weapons and reassures the public flying remains safe.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has met with the International Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) in a high level meeting called by the ICAO to address air safety concerns and review processes for flying over conflict zones.

“The tragic shooting-down of MH17 was an attack on the whole air transport industry and the world’s airlines are angry,” IATA director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler said.

“Civil aircraft are instruments of peace and they should not be the target of weapons of war – that is enshrined in international law through the Chicago Convention.”

Together with the support of its industry partners, the ICAO has committed to a declaration which includes establishing a senior level Task Force composed of state and industry experts to address the civil aviation and national security issues arising from the recent MH17 tragedy.

The Task Force, which is to have IATA amongst its participants, will specifically examine how relevant information can be effectively collected and disseminated, stating that clear, accurate and timely information of risks is critical.

“We were told that flights traversing Ukraine’s territory at above 32,000 feet would not be in harm’s way and we now know how wrong that guidance was.

“It is essential that airlines receive clear guidance regarding threats to their passengers, crew and aircraft and such information must be accessible in an authoritative, accurate, consistent, and unequivocal way.”

The industry has also called on ICAO to address fail-safe channels for essential threat information to be made available to civil aviation authorities and industry and measures to be incorporated into international law, through the right United Nations frameworks, in governing the design, manufacture and deployment if modern anti-aircraft weaponry.

Meanwhile, IATA has also re-assured the travelling public that flying today remains safe and secure.

“Every day, around 100,000 flights take to the air and land safely and systems supporting global aviation have produced the safest mode of transport known to humankind, but we must identify and close some specific gaps in the system that, however infrequently, lead to unspeakable mistakes and tragedies.

Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
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