Emirates president Tim Clark has called for an international airline conference to discuss how best to respond to last week’s Malaysia Airlines disaster.
Clark said he was “incandescent with rage” when he heard about flight MH17, which was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carrying 298 people when it was shot down over Ukraine (see news, July 17).
He said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and UN-body the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) could call an international summit to discuss whether changes need to be made with regards to flight paths over war zones.
Clark told Reuters: “The international airline community needs to respond as an entity, saying this is absolutely not acceptable and outrageous, and that it won’t tolerate being targeted in internecine regional conflicts that have nothing to do with airlines…
“If you go East to West or vice-versa between Europe and Asia, you are likely to run into areas of conflict. We have traditionally been able to manage this… That was up until three days ago.
“Now I think there will have to be new protocols and it will be up to ICAO and IATA and the aviation community to sort out what the protocols have to be.”
However, Clark dismissed suggestions that aircraft should be equipped with anti-missile devices.
He said: “Some people say planes should be armed with counter devices. That will go absolutely nowhere. If we can’t operate aircraft in a free and unencumbered manner without the threat of being taken down, then we shouldn’t be operating at all.”