Fail-safe threat channels for airlines should be recommended in a Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 security task force report that must be submitted as soon as possible, according to some of the world’s leading aviation organisations.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) met on 29 July and called for the fail-safe threat channels, the task force and international law for controlling anti-aircraft weaponry. ICAO is convening a safety conference with all of its 191 member states in February 2015.
Following the 17 July loss of the Boeing 777 (like the aircaft pictured) flight MH17, ICAO, IATA, ACI and CANSO, say in a 29 July joint statement that through ICAO, “a senior-level task force composed of state and industry experts to address the civil aviation and national security,” aspects of conflict zone dangers to airliners. It will report to a special meeting of the ICAO council. In particular, the organisations want the task force to examine, “how information can be effectively collected and disseminated”. The organisations stated in their joint statement about the fail-safe channels that: “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.”
In the statement the organisations also say that aviation safety is the responsibility of governments. IATA’s director-general and chef executive officer, Tony Tyler, says in his own organisation’s statement: “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.” He adds that for the fail-safe channels, “sensitive information can be sanitized and still remain operationally relevant,” and, “IATA stands willing to assist.”
In IATA’s statement, Tyler pointed to the rocket attack on Ben Gurion International Airport two weeks ago. “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…Governments must do better.”
The four aviation organisations also called for a United Nations framework for laws for, “the design, manufacture and deployment of modern anti-aircraft weaponry,” because of the belief MH17 was brought down by a surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile.