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Call us civilised?

The destruction of Malaysia Airlines MH17 is a reminder that the barbarous behaviour of the Middle Ages hasn't disappeared with 21st century globalisation.

While the airline industry plays a vital role in civilising humanity - transporting three billion people and 35 percent of global trade by value - it is an economic and social enabler that remains, quite literally, far above the local horror that is Iraq, Syria, the Gaza Strip, northern Nigeria, the DRC or eastern Ukraine.

So when chaos and commerce suddenly and violently collide, it is a reminder of how fragile is "the instrument of peace" - as IATA CEO Tony Tyler describes international aviation.

While politicians debate, the airline industry just gets on with the job of connecting millions of people and thousands of businesses, every hour, every day.

Although this is not the first time a commercial airliner has been shot down by mistake, the cynical indifference of those who enabled such a senseless act near Donetsk do not deserve to be called leaders – or even "separatists".

If air transport is to continue its role in the 21st century as Tyler hopes, Ukraine will need more than talk from the EU to ensure Aleksandr Borodai and his mentors are delivered to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

- author Simon Keeble is the editor of Freightweek

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