Governments of Canada and the Netherlands co-host the third annual Safer Skies Forum

News release

June 6, 2023           Ottawa             Transport Canada

Canada and its international partners are united in their continued commitment to improve the safety of air travel over or near conflict zones since the senseless downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by Russia in July 2014 and Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 by Iran in January 2020, which took the lives of all 176 innocent people on board, including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents, and many others with ties to Canada.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, in partnership with Mark Harbers, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management for the Netherlands, officially opened and addressed the third Safer Skies Forum. Canada and the Netherlands are co-hosting the event, the only international forum dedicated to mitigating airspace risks over or near conflict zones. It brings together expert partners from states, international organizations, and the civil aviation industry.

The third Safer Skies Forum will include discussions on how to better protect civil aviation from the risks posed by conflict zones in a more proactive way. Participants will also share views on current issues in global aviation and the way forward for the Safer Skies Initiative.

The Safer Skies Forum is a key part of the Government of Canada’s Safer Skies Initiative, first announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February 2020 to improve the safety of air travel worldwide. The Safer Skies Initiative commits Canada to working with international partners to address gaps in how the civil aviation sector contends with conflict zones.

During his address, Minister Alghabra announced that Canada’s working paper requesting that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) prioritize a review of the ICAO Risk Assessment Manual for Civil Aircraft Operations Over or Near Conflict Zones was universally supported at the organization’s 41st General Assembly. He also announced that the Manual was submitted to ICAO for official review in January 2023, and that a status update on the review of the document will be provided by the ICAO Secretariat at the Forum.


“I was proud to participate virtually today in the third Safer Skies Forum and want to thank the Government of the Netherlands for hosting this year’s Forum in person in the Hague for the first time. The next two days will be an opportunity to discuss best practices to protect civil aviation operations, manage risks and keep passengers around the world safe. To safeguard the future of civil aviation, we must take proactive action. Canada is committed to the Safer Skies Initiative, and to continue collaborating with ICAO and the international civil aviation community to advance this important work.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

“It is an honour to host the third Safer Skies Forum in the Netherlands, together with Canada. Sadly, the Netherlands are only too familiar with the risks to civil aviation of flying over conflict areas, following the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014, which had 196 innocent Dutch victims on board. We recognize the importance of international collaboration to improve safety for all passengers. I am glad so many stakeholders have gathered in The Hague to address this important issue.”

Mark Harbers
Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Netherlands

Associated links


Nadine Ramadan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada

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