Air transport industry reviews safety procedures after MH17 | Asia Pacific

Air transport industry reviews safety procedures after MH17

Air transport industry reviews safety procedures after MH17

Updated 30 July 2014, 11:56 AEST

Air transport leaders have been meeting in Canada to review air safety since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot out of the sky almost two weeks ago.

The industry wants better intelligence sharing from governments to airlines so they can make accurate and timely decisions about which routes are safe to fly.

Correspondent: Jane Cowan, North America correspondent

Speakers: Tony Tyler, International Air Transport Association; Jeff Poole, Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation; Angela Gittens, Airports Council International.

JANE COWAN: It's an airline industry appalled at the targeting of a passenger plane and desperate to reassure the travelling public.

TONY TYLER: The tragic shooting down of MH17 was an attack on the whole air transport industry. And the world's airlines are angry.

JANE COWAN: Tony Tyler heads the International Air Transport Association which represents 240 airlines.

TONY TYLER: Airlines need clear and accurate information on which to base operational decisions on where and when safe it's to fly. In the case of MH17, airlines were told that flights above 32,000 feet that traverse Ukraine would not be in harm's way and we now know how wrong that guidance was.

JANE COWAN: He emphasises the airline industry had identified no systemic failures but the downing of Flight 17 has exposed gaps in the system.

Tony Tyler says airlines rely on governments though to share their intelligence.

TONY TYLER: Surely they have a moral duty apart from anything else to ensure that innocent people are not put in harm's way, if they know something, know it's not safe. How can they sit back and watch innocent people threatened in this way?

JANE COWAN: Jeff Poole is the director general of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation.

JEFF POOLE: There have been some concerns expressed about the disclosure and use of intelligence information. But for air traffic management, we do not need to know the detail, the security and intelligence reasons behind risk assessments. What we do need are authoritative, accurate and consistent information and decisions from the authorities.

JANE COWAN: In the case of MH17, when a plane was shot down over rebel-held territory disputed between Russia and Ukraine, the International Air Transport Association's Tony Tyler says ultimate responsibility has to lie with Ukraine.

TONY TYLER: The country above whose airspace we're talking about has sovereignty over that airspace, and it has to be the government of that country that takes responsibility. And if that country cannot declare its airspace to be safe, then it should say so, and airlines will know that the airspace is closed and they won't fly over it.

JANE COWAN: But the industry says overregulation of air travel isn't the right way to go.

Angela Gittens is the director general of the Airports Council International.

ANGELA GITTENS: What we can say with certainty is that for the overwhelming number of flights and passengers, the system has worked and has worked well. What we need to address is the fact that some states may not have the capabilities or willingness to provide robust intelligence in a consistent manner.

JANE COWAN: No intelligence agencies were at the meeting and the airline industry admits it has little power to compel to governments to do what it's asking.

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