Malaysia Airlines flight 17

Task force on airline safety to be formed after MH17 downing, UN body says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 9:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 9:25pm

The United Nations civil aviation body said it would quickly form a task force on airline safety, noting that while this was complex and politically sensitive, urgent action had to be taken after the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the airline industry and other aviation groups said they would look at how safety information could be collected and distributed properly.

The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 prompted some in the industry to urge the ICAO, which has 191 member countries, to play a larger role in advising airlines about safety risks.

The ICAO currently cannot open or close airspace.

The issue of seeing what could be done to boost safety "is quite urgent", ICAO secretary general Raymond Benjamin told a news conference. The agency would convene a high-level safety conference in February 2015 to discuss the matter, he said.

Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association, said countries had no excuse for not ensuring the safety of their airspace. "Even sensitive information can be sanitised in a way that ensures airlines get essential and actionable information without compromising methods or sources," he said.