MONTREAL: The global aviation industry has called on the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to ensure governments have greater control over the deployment of anti-aircraft weaponry following the downing of Malaysia MH17.
"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 Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and CEO.
IATA, together with ICAO, Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), also want assurances from governments that airlines have access to accurate intelligence in order to properly assess risks they may face.
Tyler cited a recent contradiction flying to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport: "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 declared.
In a joint statement, the aviation organisations noted that while there are international legal conventions covering chemical, nuclear, biological, plastic explosives and the weapons trade generally, there is nothing to address the control of "powerful anti-aircraft weaponry" getting into the hands of non-state entities.
In addition to setting up a task force of country and industry experts to address the aviation and national security aspects of this challenge, ICAO said it is convening a safety conference with all its 191 country members in February next year.