IATA chief: MH17 was an attack against the air transport system

by Karen Walker
Jul 22, 2014

IATA CEO and director general Tony Tyler has expressed outrage at the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, saying the 298 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 were “victims of a hideous crime.”

In a statement issued Monday, Tyler described the attack as “an attack against the air transport system, which is an instrument of peace” and called for governments to lead a review of how airspace risk assessments are made.

Tyler said the immediate priorities were to ensure the victims’ bodies were returned to their loved ones in a respectful manner and that the crash site was secured.

“The investigation must also start quickly and with total freedom and access. Actions over the weekend, which slowed down progress on both of these priorities, were an outrage to human decency.

“We have heard news of potential progress on both these issues. But promises now need to be turned into reality with actions,” Tyler said.

“Governments and air navigation service providers inform airlines about the routes that they can fly and with what restrictions. Airlines comply with that guidance. That was the case with MH17. Malaysia Airlines was a clearly identified commercial jet. And it was shot down—in complete violation of international laws, standards and conventions—while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude that was deemed to be safe,” he added.

“Of course, nobody should be shooting missiles at civilian aircraft—governments or separatists. Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made. And the industry will do all that it can to support governments, through ICAO, in the difficult work that lies ahead.

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