Estonian MEP submits a motion to stop Russian military jets threatening passenger planes (4)

A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter in flight. (RIA Novosti/Scanpix)
12/15/2014 3:50 PM
Category: International

Urmas Paet, a former Estonian Foreign Minister and now a member of the European Parliament, has submitted a motion for a EP resolution on military planes which fly in European air space with their communication systems and transponders switched off and threaten passenger planes.

It was reported last week that Russian military planes have repeatedly flown near Finnish and Swedish air space, with their transponders switched off, putting civilian airliners in a collision risk.

On Saturday, Swedish authorities said that a Russian military aircraft nearly collided above southern Sweden with a commercial passenger jet that had taken off on Friday from Copenhagen. Scandinavian airline company SAS later confirmed that the passenger jet belonged to them.

Sweden's air force chief, Maj. Gen. Micael Byden, said that the Russian plane's transponders, which make the plane visible to commercial radar, were shut off. Swedish fighter jets were sent up to identify the aircraft and it was identified that a Russian intelligence plane was to blame.

Paet's motion calls for a concrete action, based on the rules of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Taking into account that the activity of Russian military planes in European air space has increased considerably, especially in the Baltic Sea region, and the situation where Russian military planes frequently disregard safety requirements in international air space by not switching on communication systems or communicating with dispatchers, representing a great threat to passenger planes, the motion calls for aviation security and aviation rules to be changed so that military planes cannot fly without having their communication systems switched on.

The motion calls on the European Commission to take action to modify the international legal system so as to ban military planes from flying with their transponders and communication systems switched off, and calls for the Convention on International Civil Aviation to be amended accordingly.

S. Tambur

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