Berlin, July 22 (Reuters): Governments should take the lead in reviewing how risk assessments for airspace are made, the head of the International Air Transport Association said, sidestepping calls for a conference of global airlines on the matter.
The issue of flying over conflict zones is in focus after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
The head of Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines, called on Sunday for an international meeting of airlines to discuss the industry’s response to the downing and suggested IATA could call a conference.
But Geneva-based IATA, which represents around 200 global airlines, said on Tuesday it was up to governments and air traffic control authorities to provide information about routes and restrictions.
“No effort should be spared in ensuring that this outrage is not repeated,” IATA Director General Tony Tyler said in a statement.
“Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made,” he said, adding that the industry would support governments through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the aviation safety arm of the UN.
The European Cockpit Association, which represents 38,000 European pilots from 37 European states, said it also believed the responsibility lay with governments.
“Any threat or risk assessment should be done by governments because they are the ones with the access to information from security sources,” ECA President Nico Voorbach told Reuters.
Germany’s Lufthansa said on Monday it would support an airlines conference and that airlines, industry organisations and government authorities would have to jointly review how they approach international security.
IATA repeated on Tuesday that MH17 was using a route that was open.
“Malaysia Airlines was a clearly identified commercial jet,” Tyler said.
“And it was shot down — in complete violation of international laws, standards and conventions — while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude that was deemed to be safe.”