GENEVA Dec 8 Airlines said on Thursday a U.N.
warning mechanism designed to avoid a repeat of the 2014 downing
of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine is "useless" and called for
urgent new ways of detecting dangers to aircraft posed by war
A new system should also contain information on other
security threats and not just conflict zones, according to
officials of the International Air Transport Association (IATA),
representing some 265 airlines.
A conflict zones repository launched in April last year by
the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was meant
for states to provide information on potential risks around the
world so that airlines could avoid those regions.
However, it does not contain enough information and even
that is not provided fast enough for airlines to use in real
time, a security expert with IATA said on Thursday.
"The repository is inadequate, woefully inadequate," Nick
Careen, IATA's senior vice president for airport, passenger
cargo and security, told journalists at a briefing in Geneva.
"If it's not timely and relevant, it's useless."
A spokesman for Montreal-based ICAO said it had nothing to
add to changes announced in July, when it restricted the data to
information provided by states where a conflict is occurring.
One of the problems regulators have faced is sensitivities
of nations about including warnings given by their neighbours.
IATA's Careen said airlines do have access to a lot of the
security information they need for their daily operations but it
is stored in various locations and complicated to access.
He said ICAO had heard IATA's concerns and the two were now
launching a survey to see where airlines were getting their
information from. The aim is to present new recommendations by
the middle of 2017 and enact them by the end of the year.
"It was implemented too quickly without giving it
appropriate level of thought as to what was required by the
industry," Careen said of the database.
International investigators reported in September that a
missile launcher used to shoot down Malaysian Airlines Flight
MH17 over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in 2014 came from Russia
and was returned there afterwards.
Russia maintained that the airliner, which was en route from
Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was brought down by Ukraine's
military rather than the pro-Russian rebels. All 298 people on
board, most of them Dutch, were killed.
(Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing
by Victoria Bryan; editing by Mark Heinrich)