Since Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down near Tehran, Iran, on January 8, 2020, Canada and its international partners have been working to improve the safety and security of air travel worldwide by addressing gaps in the way the civil aviation sector deals with conflict zones.
Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, delivered opening remarks at the inaugural Safer Skies Forum last week, hosted virtually by Transport Canada. The Safer Skies Forum is the first international forum focused on civilian aviation safety over conflict zones. The event brought together experts from 81 countries and regions, international organizations, and the civil aviation industry to share best practices to address risk in conflict zones. Participants also advocated for the implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), which assist international partners in managing aviation safety risks.
During his address, Minister Garneau urged countries who had not already done so to endorse the Safer Skies Commitment Statement, a global commitment to advance aviation safety and security. The Statement reinforces the importance of safe civil aviation operations worldwide, and calls on countries to renew their commitment to a global approach to addressing risk from conflict zones. The Minister noted the endorsement of the United States, Germany, Ukraine, France, United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Iceland, Georgia, Netherlands, Japan, Greece, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation, and the International Air Transport Association, and looks forward to further endorsements in the weeks to come.
ICAO highlighted that countries are now being surveyed and that their responses would help define the next steps at the multilateral level, and to improve results on conflict zone risk mitigation in the future.