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This was an outrage and a hideous crime... the families deserve dignity, says air chief

By Peter Woodman

As investigators continue to comb through the belongings of passengers in a bid to identify the dead, the head of the International Air Transport Association said bodies of the victims of the MH17 disaster must be returned to loved ones "in a respectful manner".

The incident was "an outrage" and "a hideous crime", Iata director-general and chief executive Tony Tyler said.

"No effort should be spared in ensuring that this outrage is not repeated."

He added: "The tragedy of MH17 is an outrage. Over the weekend it was confirmed that the passengers and crew aboard the aircraft were the victims of a hideous crime. It was also an attack against the air transport system, which is an instrument of peace.

"For over four days we witnessed appalling sights from the crash scene. Governments must set aside their differences and treat the victims and their families with the dignity they deserve – and this includes urgently securing the site."

Mr Tyler added: "The investigation must also start quickly and with total freedom and access. Actions over the weekend which slowed down progress on both of these priorities were an outrage to human decency.

"We have heard news of potential progress on both these issues. But promises now need to be turned into reality with actions.

"Airlines and governments are partners in supporting global connectivity. Airlines carry the passengers and cargo. Governments and air navigation service providers inform airlines about the routes that they can fly and with what restrictions. Airlines comply with that guidance.

"That was the case with MH17. Malaysia Airlines was a clearly identified commercial jet. And it was shot down – in complete violation of international laws, standards and conventions – while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude that was deemed to be safe. No effort should be spared in ensuing that this outrage is not repeated. Of course, nobody should be shooting missiles at civilian aircraft – governments or separatists.

"This was a terrible crime. But flying remains safe. And everyone involved in global air transport is fully dedicated to making it even safer."

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