Expressing their strong condemnation of the use of weapons against civil aviation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), have agreed to immediately establish a senior-level Task Force in response to the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
At the meeting in Montreal earlier this week the civil aviation organisations said that as a first step, States have been reminded by ICAO of their responsibilities to address any potential risks to civil aviation in their airspace.
“The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is unacceptable. Our organisations wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic event. While aviation is the safest form of transport, the MH17 incident has raised troubling concerns with respect to civilian aircraft operating to, from and over conflict zones.”
“We recognise the essential need for information and intelligence that might affect the safety of our passengers and crew. This is a highly complex and politically sensitive area of international coordination, involving not only civil aviation regulations and procedures but also State national security and intelligence gathering activities.
“All parties to the discussion agreed that ICAO now has an important role to play in working as urgently as possible with its Member States, in coordination with the aviation industry and other bodies within the United Nations, to ensure the right information reaches the right people at the right time.
Moving forward ICAO with support of its industry partners will: Immediately establish a senior-level Task Force composed of state and industry experts to address the civil aviation and national security aspects of this challenge, in particular how information can be effectively collected and disseminated; and submit the Task Force findings as urgently as possible to a Special Meeting of the ICAO Council for action.
Industry has called for ICAO to also address: Fail-safe channels for essential threat information to be made available to civil aviation authorities and industry; the need to incorporate into international law, through appropriate UN frameworks, measures to govern the design, manufacture and deployment of modern anti-aircraft weaponry.
ICAO is convening a High-level Safety Conference with all of its 191 Member States in February 2015. Industry and governments stand united and committed to ensuring the safety and security of the global air transport system and its users.