The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) issued a State Letter on Thursday, reminding applicable authorities in the 191 signatory States to the Convention on International Civil Aviation of the international provisions specifying State responsibilities with respect to the safety and security of civil aircraft operating in airspace affected by conflict.
“ICAO has decided to issue this State Letter in response to some confusion which has arisen over these provisions and the responsibilities which they specify,” stressed the UN Organization’s Council President, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “We felt it prudent to ensure greater clarity and consistency with our Member States and Recognized Observer organizations on the international framework which applies, notably as these matters continue to be raised in public discussions following MH17’s tragic loss.”
The ICAO State Letter further highlights that the obligations of States should not be confused with safety information circulated from time to time by ICAO when potential hazards to civil aviation operations are brought to the attention of the Organization. It also draws the attention on the need for the appropriate authorities to consider and mitigate the safety risk and potential congestion consequences in the event that operators decide to circumnavigate various airspaces affected by conflict.
Its issuance is the latest of several actions taken by ICAO in the aftermath of the downing of Flight MH17, including coordination with the United Nations Security Council, the sending of experts to assist in the accident investigation and regular briefings to States of the ICAO Council.