Joint effort to improve air transport safety - IATA
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) joined the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Airports Council
International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)
in a declaration committing the parties to review processes for the
overflight of conflict zones. The high-level meeting was called by ICAO
in the aftermath of the tragic downing of MH17 over the Ukraine last
"The tragic shooting-down of MH17 was an attack on the whole air
transport industry. The world's airlines are angry. Civil aircraft are
instruments of peace. They should not be the target of weapons of war.
That is enshrined in international law through the Chicago Convention,"
said IATA's Director General and CEO,Tony Tyler.
The declaration includes a commitment by ICAO, with the support of
its industry partners, to immediately set up a senior level Task Force
composed of State and industry experts to address the civil aviation and
national security issues arising from the downing of MH17.
In particular, the Task Force will explore at how relevant
information can be effectively collected and disseminated. IATA will be
among the participants on the task force.
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 the need to incorporate into international
law, through appropriate UN frameworks, measures to govern the design,
manufacture and deployment of modern anti-aircraft weaponry.
"We are asking ICAO to address two critical tasks. The first, and
most urgent, is to ensure that governments provide airlines with better
information with which to make risk assessments of the various threats
they may face. The second is equally important but comes with a longer
time frame. We will find ways through international law that will oblige
governments better to control weapons which pose a danger to civil
aviation. Achieving these will make our safe industry even safer," said
Clear, accurate and timely information on risks is critical. "We were
told that flights traversing Ukraine's territory at above 32,000 feet
would not be in harm's way. We now know how wrong that guidance was. It
is essential that airlines receive clear guidance regarding threats to
passengers, crew and aircraft," he said.
"Such information must be accessible in an authoritative, accurate,
consistent and unequivocal way. This is the responsibility of States.
There can be no excuses. Even sensitive information can be sanitised and
still remain operationally relevant," said Tyler. He said that IATA was
willing to assist with the dissemination of such information.
A clear illustration of the need for such information was evident
last week with respect to operations to and from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion
"The Israeli authorities declared that the airport was safe. The US
Federal Aviation Administration told its airlines they could not fly.
And the European Aviation Safety Agency provided strong recommendations
that European airlines should not fly.
This is all far from the authoritative, accurate, consistent, and
unequivocal information needed to support effective decisions on such an
important issue. Governments must do better," he said. IATA and the rest
of the industry called for controls on the design, manufacture and
deployment of anti-aircraft weapons. "Weapons of war - including
powerful anti-aircraft weaponry - are also in the hands of non-State
entities. We have conventions that address chemical, nuclear, and
biological weapons, plastic explosives and weapons trade generally.
But there is no international law or convention to manage them as
exists for many other forms of weaponry," said Tyler.
"MH 17 shows us that this gap in the international system which must
be closed. Under ICAO's leadership, we can find ways within the UN
system, to augment the international law framework to ensure that States
fully understand and discharge their responsibilities in this regard,"