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14 Apr, 2015

UN agency unveils new online tool to reduce risks to aircraft in conflict zones

United Nations, (UN News Centre) 13 April 2015 – The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has launched a new website issuing warnings about risks to aircraft in conflict zones, which aims to serve as a single source for up-to-date assessments from States and relevant international organizations to reduce risks to civil aviation arising from armed conflict.

Photo: ICAO

“The new repository is accessible via ICAO’s public website homepage for representatives from States, airlines and the general public,” the agency said in a press release. “As it becomes populated with submissions, it will provide up-to-date information on potential risks to civil aviation arising from armed conflict.”

The move comes in direct response to recommendations made in February by Member States at ICAO’s 2015 High-Level Safety Conference in Montreal, Canada.

Under the Chicago Convention, each State is responsible for assessing civil aviation conflict zone risks in their territories, and for making that information promptly available to other States and airlines.

“Only authorized State officials will have the right to submit risk information under the procedures agreed to by the ICAO Council,” according to the press release. “In all cases, the identity of the State submitting information to the repository will be clearly indicated, and States being referenced in a risk submission will also have the opportunity to review and approve the related information prior to public posting.”

ICAO, a specialized UN agency tasked with coordinating and regulating international air travel, sets rules of airspace, aircraft registration and safety, and undertakes compliance audits, performs studies and analyses.

At its February High-Level Conference, ICAO’s member States Member States recommended the adoption of a 15-minute aircraft tracking standard that the agency applauded at the time as an important first step in providing a foundation for global flight tracking.”

Concerns over aircraft tracking and risks to civil aviation arising from conflict zones were brought to the fore in the wake of the 2014 downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight MH17over eastern Ukraine, and the disappearance of another Malaysian Airlines flight upon take off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.