Aviation body to collect data on risks of flying over war zones, and disseminate to airlines

MONTREAL (AFP) - The International Civil Aviation Organization said on Tuesday it plans to collect all data on flight risks over conflict zones and disseminate this information to airlines, despite reservations from Russia.

The measure is a response to the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last July after being shot down over eastern Ukraine.

At a meeting in Montreal of ICAO's 191 member states and aviation leaders on Tuesday, experts proposed creating a system to store all risk information. Though the repository would contain much of the data that is currently available to carriers, this is often fragmented.

The proposed system would include information from an array of sources, such as from nations' intelligence services.

Kiev and the West have claimed the MH17 flight was shot down in the conflict-torn area by separatist fighters using a BUK surface-to-air missile supplied by Russia. Moscow denies the charges, pointing the finger at Kiev.

The Malaysian delegation noted that the MH17 crash could have occurred to any of the commercial aircrafts that flew over eastern Ukraine that same fateful day.

Russia said monthly notices to pilots, known as Notices to Airmen or Notam, were sufficient to warn carriers of risks.

Russia could force a delay until 2016 in the amalgamating of warnings and data available now in other documents, such as the Aeronautical Information Publications and Aeronautical Information Circulars.

A Russian official said it will put forth "concrete proposals".

The European Union meanwhile pressed to have the new one-stop system up and running "as soon as possible".

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