The ICAO task force on risks to civil aviation in conflict zones (TFRCZ) is to be led by David McMillan, chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF).

McMillan was unanimously elected as chairman at the inaugural meeting of the TFRCZ at ICAO headquarters in Montreal, Canada this week.

He was nominated by the Malaysian government and supported by the Netherlands – the two countries vitally impacted by the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine. McMillan was director general of Eurocontrol before he took up his post as FSF chairman.

"It is an honour to be elected to lead this important task force," says McMillan. "Civil aviation is fundamentally very safe, but we do need to apply lessons learned from the tragedy of MH17 and recent events to fill any gaps that may exist to better assess and share risks from and near regional conflict zones."

FSF president and chief executive Jon Beatty says: "We're enormously proud of David's election, and can't think of a better person to lead this important ICAO task force. The Foundation is directly participating in this task force, which has our full support."

ICAO agreed to the endeavour at a special meeting at the end of July, held in reaction to the 17 July shooting down of flight MH17 – a Boeing 777 – as well as increased tensions in other parts of the world.

The task force will assist in providing greater clarity of procedure and responsibilities regarding civilian airspace in the vicinity of conflict zones.