Building a more secure future: Minister of Transport provides update on the Safer Skies Initiative at ICAO Council meeting

News release

March 1, 2021          Ottawa          Transport Canada

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down near Tehran by Iranian surface-to-air missiles, killing 176 people, including 138 with ties to Canada. The Government of Canada continues to work with its international partners to improve global aviation safety and prevent tragedies like Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 from ever happening again.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, joined a virtual meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council. He discussed progress under the Safer Skies Initiative, and continued to press the Islamic Republic of Iran for a thorough, timely, and transparent safety investigation.

Through the Safer Skies Initiative, 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 highlighted the recent establishment of the Safer Skies Consultative Committee, which brings together global aviation experts to help inform, advise, advocate for, and assist the development of international initiatives to further improve aviation safety in or near conflict zones.

The Minister also noted Canada’s successful hosting of the inaugural Safer Skies Forum. The Forum is a global event exclusively dedicated to mitigating the risks posed to civil aviation operations by conflict zones. It was held virtually from December 8-9, and brought together more than 400 participants from 82 countries and 31 industry stakeholders.

To mark the first anniversary of the downing of Flight PS752, Canada held a series of commemorative events that culminated in the Government of Canada designating January 8 as the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Air Disasters. Canada’s priority following the downing, and throughout its aftermath, has always been to provide families and loved ones with the support they need. We remain committed to holding Iran accountable and obtaining the transparency, accountability and justice the families need and deserve.


“By working together, we can improve aviation safety and prevent tragedies like the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 from ever happening again. That is why our government developed the Safer Skies Initiative to bring together partners to establish a common set of practices to better protect passengers from the risk of flying in or near foreign conflict zones. Today’s meeting was an opportunity to share the progress we have made to advance the Safer Skies Initiative. We will continue to work closely with ICAO and other key partners to build a safer and more secure future.”

The Minister of Transport
The Honourable Omar Alghabra

“It was my honour to host the inaugural Safer Skies Forum last December, and I am pleased to see that Canada’s work on the Safer Skies Initiative continues to show demonstrable progress. We cannot undo the tragedy that was Flight PS752, but we can help avoid future tragedies by vigorously pursuing improvements to air safety standards for civilian flights near or over conflict zones.”


The Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Marc Garneau

Associated links


Allison St-Jean
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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