According to the agency sources, the relative discussions in the organisation, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, started after the Boeing 777 plane crash in Ukraine. The organisation at present has no functions for the opening or closure of air corridors and of issuing warnings to air carriers about the danger of flight in a particular region due to military conflicts. ICAO is deciding whether it is necessary to warn air carriers of such risks.
The sources said there was no guarantee ICAO would decide to take on more responsibility. ICAO, composed of 191 signatory states, as well as global industry and aviation organisations, has a limited role. It cannot open or close air routes and does not warn airlines to avoid regions because of conflict. Some in the aviation industry now want ICAO to do more after Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was downed by a missile over eastern Ukraine last week, killing 298 people. Malaysia has said it was flying an ICAO-approved route, a misreading of the agency’s role.
No one global body has overall responsibility for keeping the skies safe for civil aviation.
An industry source with close connections to ICAO confirmed representatives were considering whether the body should issue advisories and suggested there could be a more formal debate among members. ICAO has consistently said that it is up to member states to warn airlines about risks. Reuters sources noted there was no final consensus on this matter in ICAO.
The Boeing 777 airliner of Malaysia Airlines, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed on July 17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region in the area of combat actions between the local militias and Ukrainian government troops. All 298 passengers on the plane were killed in the crash. The majority of the passengers - 193 people - were citizens of the Netherlands.