FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European aviation safety authorities have recommended that Europe set up its own system for publishing information on conflict zones for airlines, citing limits in the usefulness of a global repository already in place.
The United Nations’ aviation arm, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), set up a conflict zones website after the 2014 downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over an area of fighting in Ukraine.
But the website, which allows states to share information about risks to flight routes, has come under fire for taking too long to post advisory warnings and ICAO is now reviewing the site.
A European task force including representatives from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Commission and the International Air Transport Association said on Thursday the ICAO website had two main restrictions - the length of time it took advisories to be published and the fact that risk assessments were too isolated in nature because they were the product of one state.
“(This has) created a need for an alternate information sharing and distribution process taking place at European level,” the task force said in its report.
The task force recommended developing a common European risk assessment of conflict zones and a quick alert mechanism to notify the aviation community, and called on European countries to share information on conflict zones.
EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said the threat of terrorism to civil aviation was likely to remain high in the foreseeable future.
“Time for action is now - it is essential that concrete steps are put in place to protect EU citizens when flying,” she said in a statement.
The ICAO did not immediately comment.
Additional reporting by Julia Fioretti in Brussels and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Gareth Jones