Canada’s “Safer Skies” proposals to support regulators’ and operators’ conflict zone risk avoidance

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Speaking at the inaugural “Safer Skies” forum on risks to civilian flights in conflict zones yesterday, ICAO Council President Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano emphasized that countries have endorsed Canada’s ‘Safer Skies’ proposals through the ICAO Council, and taken new diplomatic steps through ICAO in the area of conflict zone risk mitigation.

He also reiterated his deep regret that related diplomatic actions “became so urgent and so necessary this year because of the tragic loss of Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752.”

Governments and operators have key roles to play in helping to assure that future conflict zone risks don’t again lead to the loss of civilian lives...

Salvatore Sciacchitano ICAO Council President

The President noted that the subject of civil aviation and military conflict zones is a complex one, and one which countries placed under renewed scrutiny through ICAO in 2014, following the tragic shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.

At that time, governments established a special task force through ICAO, which elaborated a comprehensive conflict zone work programme the ICAO Secretariat would pursue.

“The review of ICAO Standards and guidance led to amendments being issued for five separate annexes to the Chicago Convention, and to the initiation or amendments of numerous supporting circulars and other guidance materials,” President Sciacchitano commented. “It also led to the successful development of an entirely new ICAO manual on Risk Assessment for Civil Aircraft Operations Over or Near Conflict Zones.”

Noting that ICAO has begun to address Canada’s “Safer Skies” proposals in earnest, President Sciacchitano highlighted that countries were being surveyed and that their responses would help define the next steps at the multilateral level, “and in helping to achieve greater focus and improved results on conflict zone risk mitigation in the future.”

“Governments and operators have key roles to play in helping to assure that future conflict zone risks don’t again lead to the loss of civilian lives, and the ICAO Council and Secretariat will continue to support and aid their efforts on behalf the billions of passengers each year who deserve the assurance of safer skies.”

The President thanked Canada’s Minister of Transport Mr. Marc Garneau for convening the event, and expressed the gratitude of ICAO Member States for Canada’s very proactive and determined efforts toward the realization of the ‘Safer Skies’ initiative.