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IATA blasts governments for failing to share necessary information that would improve aviation security

Alexandre de JuniacThe International Aviation Transport Association’s (IATA) Director General and Chief Executive, Alexandre de Juniac, has bemoaned the government’s failure to share essential information that would improve aviation security.

De Juniac described IATA’s bid to create a “repository of information collected by various states to assess the risk of various non-flying zones or dangerous flying zones … has been a failure”.

The IATA boss pinpointed the lack of success to a mindset that was prevalent among the country’s leaders that it’s “difficult for governments to collaborate, to cooperate, (and) to release information.”

IATA’s drive to urge nations to exchange information comes at a time when regional geopolitical tensions loom over aviation security.

Two recent incidents quickly come to the fore. First was in July of 2014 when Malaysia Airlines MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists. That tragedy resulted in the killing of all 298 people on board. Then just this December, with nuclear tensions escalating in the Korean peninsula, a Cathay Pacific crew supposedly saw a North Korean missile break up and fall into the sea during mid-flight.

De Juniac said he understood where the feeling towards the release of intelligence by governments was coming from.

But “we don’t ask for any sensitive information that could threaten the sources or the individuals that are in the field,” he stressed.

“I understand that we have to protect these sources.”

The IATA chief went on to emphasize that the pressing need for intelligence sharing is steadily growing with each passing day, in congruence with the number of air travellers that choose air transport as their means of transportation.

IATA figures foresee that 7.2 billion passengers would be travelling in 2035, which is nearly twice the 3.8 billion travelers in 2016, with Asia at the top of the list as the fastest growing region in the world for air travel.

“Security is the responsibility of the governments,” de Juniac asserted.

“By working together with governments but relying on the government sources and means … we could build something more secure, but the political will has to be there.”

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