Policy and Standardization
New and Emerging Activities
Technical Cooperation and Assistance Projects (TCB)
Risks to Civil Aviation Arising from Conflict Zones (MH17)
On 17 July, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a scheduled passenger flight, was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft was operating at FL330 in the Dnipropetrovsk flight information region (FIR), above temporarily restricted areas. The flight disappeared from radar to the west of the radio navigation point TOMAK and communication with the crew was lost.
In response to this event, on 29 July ICAO hosted a special high-level meeting with the Directors General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airports Council International (ACI) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO). A joint statement expressed both the strong condemnation of the use of weapons against civil aviation and support for the establishment of a senior-level task force to address issues related to the safety and security of civil aircraft operating in airspace affected by conflict. The Task Force on Risks to Civil Aviation arising from Conflict Zones (TF RCZ) was subsequently established by the Secretary General.
The first two meetings of the TF RCZ, held in Montréal in August, resulted in the development of key objectives and a proposed work programme which was then endorsed by the Council in principle during its 203rd Session. The third and final meeting of the TF-RCZ was held in Montréal in early December.
The TF RCZ sought to determine, in particular, how relevant information regarding operations over or near conflict zones could be effectively collected and shared. A progress report on the development of an initial prototype of a centralized information capability to support the consolidation and exchange of available information in support of risk assessments for civil aircraft operating over or near conflict zones will be presented at the High-level Safety Conference (HLSC2015)
Global Flight Tracking (MH 370)
In response to the disappearance in March of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, ICAO convened a multidisciplinary meeting regarding global aircraft flight tracking to bring stakeholders together and make recommendations to ensure that these types of events would not happen again. As an outcome of the meeting, two documents were produced in 2014, one which addresses a longer-term strategic aircraft tracking concept of operations (CONOPS) that includes search and rescue (SAR) activities, and another to address air operators’ short-term response for aircraft tracking. The CONOPS document, known as the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS), will be used to guide aircraft tracking and SAR-related work in ICAO. The report of the Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF), led by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), provides an array of equipment alternatives, using available technology, for air operators to choose from based on what best suits their operation. More information on the Multidisciplinary Meeting regarding Global Tracking can be found at http://www.icao.int/meetings/GTM.
Concurrent to the activities mentioned above, amendment proposals for Annex 6 — Operation of Aircraft regarding flight tracking and the capability to locate an accident site within 6 NM have benefited from the GADSS CONOPS. Non-technology specific, performance-based provisions for normal and distress flight tracking are envisaged for circulation to States and international organizations for consultation in 2015.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak
On 8 August, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC) and on 19 September, the United Nations Security Council described it as “threat to international peace and security”. ICAO was involved in the response from the outset, with its Chief of Aviation Medicine participating as an advisor to the WHO Ebola Emergency Committee that declared the outbreak a PHEIC. In addition, ICAO chaired and coordinated the Joint Ebola Travel and Transport Task Force, which included membership from WHO, International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) , IATA, ACI, Cruise Lines International and the International Chamber of Shipping. It provided coordinated public statements on the Ebola situation as it affected the transport sector and reviewed newly developed transport-related public health documents.
A variety of other initiatives were taken:
In addition, voluntary funds to help support the CAPSCA programme were received from a number of States, being Angola, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom.