Officials call for anti-air weapons law

Viet Nam News - - World -

MON­TREAL -— Avi­a­tion officials have called for bet­ter dis­sem­i­na­tion of flight risks and a UN law re­strict­ing an­ti­air­craft weapons use, at an emer­gency meet­ing on the down­ing of Flight MH17 over Ukraine.

In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ICAO) Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ray­mond Ben­jamin and In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (IATA) Direc­tor Tony Tyler told a press con­fer­ence in Mon­treal on Tues­day that both steps are ur­gently needed to fill gaps in air­line safety in the wake of the MH17 dis­as­ter.

“MH17 has demon­strated that pow­er­ful and so­phis­ti­cated anti-air­craft weaponry is in the hands of non-state in­dus­tries,” said Tyler, who rep­re­sents 240 air­lines.

“Civil air­crafts are in­stru­ments of peace and they should never be the tar­get of weapons of war. ” Tyler pointed to in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions on lethal chem­i­cal, nu­clear and bi­o­log­i­cal weapons, among oth­ers.

“But there’s no in­ter­na­tional law or con­ven­tion that im­poses on states a duty to man­age the de­sign, man­u­fac­ture, and de­ploy­ment of anti- air­craft weapons, ” he lamented.

He added, how­ever, “I am con­fi­dent that we can find ways to aug­ment the in­ter­na­tional law frame­work to en­sure that states fully un­der­stand and dis­charge their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in this re­gard.” Tyler said air­lines also “need clear and ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion on which to base op­er­a­tional de­ci­sions on where and when it’s safe to fly.

“And in the case of MH17, air­lines were told that flights above 32,000 feet that go through Ukraine would not be in harm’s way and we now know how wrong that was.” “ It ’ s es­sen­tial that air­lines have clear guid­ance for threats for their pas­sen­gers, crew and air­craft.” States are re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing that in­for­ma­tion, officials noted.

“ There can be no ex­cuses,” Tyler said.

But the avi­a­tion in­dus­try is ready to as­sist in the dis­sem­i­na­tion of this in­for­ma­tion, he added.

“Even sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion can be sani­tised in a way that en­sures that air­lines get es­sen­tial and ac­tion­able in­for­ma­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing their sources,” he said. —

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