Canada is taking a lead role in what Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Thursday he hopes will become an international effort to better protect civilian airliners around the world from being shot down over conflict zones.
Garneau was in the U.S. capital to promote what he’s calling the Strategy for Safer Skies — a Canadian-led multilateral effort to improve co-ordination, communication and intelligence-sharing between civil aviation agencies and airlines around the world.
“As a global community, we cannot add any more names to the list of lives that have been lost, of families whose lives have been turned upside down,” Garneau told an audience of aviation executives, industry leaders and experts at a summit meeting hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“We must find ways to better manage civil aviation above conflict zones.”
Canada has been seized with the issue ever since January, when — in the midst of Iran’s ballistic-missile retaliation against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. soldiers for the targeted killing of senior Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani — a Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot out of the sky over Tehran.
Flight PS752 had been bound for Kyiv, but was laden with passengers destined for a connecting flight to Toronto, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and many others with connections to Canada. All 176 people aboard perished.
Iran initially denied involvement, only to admit three days after the crash that its military fired a pair of missiles at the jet, having mistaken it for a hostile target.
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