The European High Level Task Force on Conflict Zones handed over on 17 March 2016 its final report to Mrs Violeta Bulc, European Commissioner for Transport. In the aftermath of the tragic downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, the report contains recommendations which address the risks to civil aviation when flying over conflict zones.
The recommendations of the report include the development of a common European risk assessment of conflict zones and a quick alert mechanism to notify the aviation community. The report calls for cooperation among Member States and with the European Commission to enable the timely sharing of information and the timely identification of rapidly emerging threats. The report concludes that measures need to be taken at national and European levels to limit the risks posed to civil aviation from regional conflicts zones.
Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said: "The threat of terrorism to civil aviation is likely to remain high in the foreseeable future, which is why aviation safety and security standards are one of my top priorities. This report contains proposals to further improve the current situation that I consider essential. In particular, I welcome the improvements to the process for building common EU conflict zone risk assessments and the proposal for a quick alert mechanism. Time for action is now - it is essential that concrete steps are put in place to protect EU citizens when flying."
Patrick Ky, EASA Executive Director said: “It is a collective effort: in coordination with the EU Member States, EASA will put in place as soon as possible a system allowing to timely disseminate validated information and recommendations related to conflict zones”.
The report will now be submitted to the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union for action.
The European High Level Task Force on Conflict Zones was composed of high level representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Services, several European Civil Aviation Authorities, the International Air Transport Association IATA, KLM, and EASA.
A summary of the report can be found here.
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