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Global civil aviation watchdog set to discuss flights over conflict areas next week

The International Civil Aviation Organization's Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin says the meeting will look at how stakeholders can obtain more credible information on flight risks over certain conflict zones.

SINGAPORE: The safety task force set up by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 will meet next Thursday, and will have six weeks to make recommendations on how to better gauge the risk of flying over conflict areas.

This was according to ICAO Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin on Thursday (Aug 7), who added the meeting will be the first time the task force will be meeting to discuss how to enhance global civil aviation safety following the incident in which MH17 was apparently shot down while flying over Ukraine.

He added that the meeting will involve member states, officials from the industry including air traffic control and pilots, and Interpol, among others. ICAO is expecting 40 people to attend the meeting, and the task force will have six weeks to formulate recommendations and submit them to ICAO regarding how to obtain more credible information on the risks involved when airlines fly over certain conflict areas, Mr Benjamin said.

The ICAO official added that there is no need to issue a travel advisory at this stage for the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, but it is monitoring the situation. It is also cooperating with the World Health Organization on flight transportation of persons infected with Ebola, he said.

Mr Benjamin is in town until Aug 7 under the Ministry of Transport's Distinguished Visitors' Programme.

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