On August 26 ICAO concluded its second two-day meeting in as many weeks of the Task Force on Risks to Civil Aviation arising from Conflict Zones (TF RCZ), establishing an overall work programme and two immediate projects.
The first pilot project agreed by the States, regional organizations and wide-ranging industry groups who comprise the TF RCZ will explore how the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system already in place between States and operators could be better used to share urgent and critical conflict zone risk information.
The second project will be piloted by key ICAO partners on a new centralized system to be established for the prompt sharing of conflict zone risk information.
“This has been an especially productive two-day session on what were some very challenging objectives,” stressed TF RCZ Chairman, David McMillan. “We saw some very strong consensus around the two specific projects we’ll now be pursuing and I am very confident that we’ll be submitting a very mature and practical set of proposals to the ICAO Council. These recommendations will help to ensure the safety of civilian passengers and crew, no matter what airline they are flying on or where they are flying.”
The ICAO TF RCZ was convened on an emergency basis in the aftermath of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Its main goal is to refine the roles and procedures relating to the mitigation of conflict zone risks in civilian airspace.
“ICAO’s convening of this Task Force, not to mention the excellent rate of progress it has established to this point, clearly underscores the commitment of States and industry to this important and multidisciplinary challenge,” remarked ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “The safety of the international civil air transport system remains our community’s highest strategic priority and this work is helping us to better understand and eventually mitigate the risks to our passengers and crew arising from conflict zones.”
The TF RCZ will be meeting again in December for its next round of talks but ICAO will be delivering the group’s preliminary findings to the 203rd Session of the ICAO Council in October 2014.