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MH17: Airlines press for security review

MH17: Airlines press for security review

Lufthansa joins Emirates in calling for an international summit on how to approach air space over conflict zones in future

» Media | Friday, July 25, 2014 • Telegraph
Major airlines are calling for a review of international security protocols that determine which air space it is safe for commercial passenger jets, in the wake of the MH17 tragedy.

Lufthansa, Europe’s biggest airline, is urging airlines, industry bodies and government authorities to re-assess rules around air space in response to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over a rebel-held area of eastern Ukraine last week.

The German carrier added its voice after Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, the world’s largest carrier by international passenger traffic, pressed for an airlines’ summit to determine how the industry should approach conflict zones in future.

Lufthansa said MH17, which is believed to have been brought down by a Russian ground-to-air missile fired from rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, is a “terrible accident…of an entirely new magnitude”.

“We always put the safety and security of our customers and our crews first at the Lufthansa Group and so - needless to say - yes, we strongly support such a summit,” Europe’s biggest airline by revenue said in a statement.

“Our airlines have established procedures in place in order to ensure a continuous and thorough security assessment of their operations and they regularly review these procedures. The terrible accident of MH17 is of an entirely new magnitude though. Airlines, industry organizations and government authorities will have to jointly review international security protocols as we go forward.”

Airline analyst, Saj Ahmad of StrategicAero Research, said a directive from European authorities “should have been in place months ago” to avoid air space over troubled parts of Ukraine.

Malaysia Airlines said MH17’s flight path had been approved by Eurocontrol, the body responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. It insisted the route was frequently used by airlines flying passengers between Europe and Asia.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global industry body representing airlines, said there would be a “global dialogue” on how to tackle conflict zones in future once all of the evidence has been gathered.

Kevin Hiatt, senior vice-president for safety and flight operations at IATA, added: “Everyone connected with air transport wants to make sure that such a tragedy is not repeated. To realize that goal we need to gather the best advice and broadest knowledge possible. Industry experts are already mobilized and engaged at a global level. Once we are clear on the facts and we have expert analysis to guide us, the engagement will move to a higher level of global dialogue.”

A spokesman for British Airways said: “Safety and security are our top priorities at all times. We work closely with ICAO [the International Civil Aviation Organization] and IATA who are responsible for any new industry wide protocols and standards.”

Telegraph
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