"The airlines and their air transport partners urgently need an affordable, global, non-cancellable, non-discriminatory and universally available third-party war risk insurance" said IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani, reacting to the current air transport insurance crisis.

Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 no permanent solution has been found to the problem of air transport's third party war risk liability insurance.

There is no indication that the insurance markets can return with affordable coverage for a long time. The airlines and their air transport partners have been shouldering exorbitant insurance premiums for the past 13 months, only alleviated by the existence of national state guarantees.

"IATA strongly believes that governments must continue to play a role in ensuring that people and property on the ground are protected should civilian aircraft be used again as weapons of war" Bisignani added.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has developed a plan, nicknamed GLOBALTIME, which meets air transport's insurance needs and does not interfere unduly with the commercial insurance market, this plan received the support of the European Council of Transport Ministers on 3 October.

"As a matter of utmost urgency, IATA calls on the ECOFIN Council of the European Union to endorse the recommendation of the Council of Transport Ministers and extend the national state insurance guarantee for as long as necessary. IATA also calls on the ECOFIN Council to give their immediate approval to the creation of the ICAO global scheme for aviation war risk insurance" Bisignani also said.

In a conversation with Commission President Romano Prodi, Bisignani pointed out that "Europe had a great opportunity to make a difference on an issue of crucial global importance."