Ruling party wants European authority, not airlines to decide on flying over conflict zones

KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol Airport
KLM Boeing 737-700, PH-BGP at Schiphol AirportSaschaporsche / Wikimedia Commons

Government party D66 no longer wants airlines to decide for themselves whether to fly over conflict areas. Instead, the European aviation authority EASA should be in charge of that decision, according to D66 parliamentarians Jan Paternotte and Sjoerd Sjoerdsma. They will submit a motion to this effect during a debate on aviation and conflict zones on January 29th.

"In America, the aviation authority determines when an airspace is unsafe. In Europe, it is up tot he companies themselves. We should not want to leave this to companies that have to make an impossible trade-off between safety and costs," Paternotte said on Twitter. "You must be safe. Whether you board KLM, United Airlines, or Alitalia."

This is a lesson that should have been learned after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 298 people on board, Paternotte said. The fact that it has not yet been learned, can be seen by Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shot down in Iran on January 8th, killing 176 people, he said to NRC. Only hours before that disaster, Iran fired rockets at an American base in Iraq. 

KLM decided to stop flying over Iran and Iraq due to the tensions, but other airlines did not. 

"One of the most important lessons from MH17 was that flying above conflict areas was not properly regulated," parliamentarian Sjoerdsma said to NRC. "That is still not the case. This is the time to change it."

The D66 MPs will raise this matter in parliament on Tuesday, and submit a motion to take the decision of flying over conflict zones out of airlines' hands later this month. 

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