The Dutch government must more often insist that airlines do not fly over war zones, according to an aviation expert and the European air traffic control centre Eurocontrol.
Aviation lawyer professor Hugo Roos told broadcaster Nos that the Dutch government banned airlines from flying over certain areas in the 1940s and 1960s, but since an airplane crashed into a block of flats in the Amsterdam Bijlmer in 1992, it has stopped doing so. ‘The cabinet wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interests between the aviation sector and the government,’ he said.
Against the law
The current coalition says it is against the law to force airlines to take different routes. ‘The cabinet cannot forbid KLM or Transavia to fly over, for example, North Korea. It is a matter for the airlines themselves,’ junior infrastructure minister Wilma Mansveld told parliament at the end of January.
‘This attitude is no longer acceptable, after the downing of Malaysian Airways flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine,’ Roos told the Nos. ‘They must again take an active role in issuing warnings for danger zones in the air space of other countries and, where necessary, issue a ban on its use,’ he said.
Eurocontrol agrees, saying countries do have that right. ‘But few European countries make use of it,’ Eurocontrol’s Brian Flynn told the Nos.
They were speaking ahead of a parliamentary session on Thursday evening when MPs will raise the question of air space over war zones during a debate on the investigation into the downing of MH17 in July 2014.
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