Minister of Transport provides update on Safer Skies Initiative at ICAO Council meeting

OTTAWA, ON, June 18, 2021 /CNW/ – On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) was shot down near Tehran by Iranian surface-to-air missiles, killing 176 people, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and many more with ties to Canada. The Government of Canada continues to work with its international partners to improve global aviation safety and prevent tragedies like Flight PS752 from ever happening again.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, virtually joined the 223rd session of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council to discuss the latest developments on the downing of Flight PS752 and Canada’s Safer Skies Initiative.

The Minister reiterated Canada’s long-standing position on the downing of Flight PS752 and condemned Iran, in the strongest terms, for its actions that led to the tragedy and its handling of the aftermath, including its failure to provide answers. He noted that Iran failed to recognize the danger of their military operations and neglected to take measures to prevent this tragedy. The Minister also expressed Canada’s continued commitment to obtaining justice, transparency and accountability for the victims of Flight PS752 and their families.

Minister Alghabra also referenced Canada’s intent to pursue efforts to strengthen international rules. The goal is to address limitations exposed by Iran’s investigation, and enhance the conduct of future investigations in situations where the State of Occurrence has participated in or caused the downing of a civilian aircraft.

This is what makes the Safer Skies Initiative so important. Through Safer Skies, Canada is working with ICAO, other international organizations, and experts from the civil aviation industry around the world to enhance safety and security for commercial airlines and to prevent future tragedies. Minister Alghabra announced that Canada will host another Safer Skies Forum in late 2021 or early 2022.

In addition, the Minister addressed the recent unusual, excessive and unacceptable actions taken by the Belarusian authorities against RyanAir Flight 4978, stating that the global community must remain vigilant in order to protect the safety and security of civil aviation. Canada, through its Safer Skies Initiative, took swift action alongside allies to protect civilian aircraft flying over Belarusian airspace.

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“I wish to extend my gratitude to the ICAO Council for their support and to this organization for all the work that has been undertaken since March 2020 on Safer Skies. Thanks to continued efforts by many in the international community, we have advanced the work of the Safer Skies Initiative, and I look forward to our ongoing collaboration on the important work that lies ahead.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

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