Efforts to adopt new standards for global plane tracking and co-operation on the risks of flying over conflict zones will dominate the meeting on safety in Montreal from Feb. 2-5, weeks ahead of the anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370, the Malaysian Airlines jet with 239 people on board.

Regulators and officials at the meeting will have to juggle political sensitivities and arguments over the budgets of cash-squeezed airlines.
               
"Issues such as flight restrictions over conflict zones can only be tackled at a global or regional level," Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, said.
               
"The global aviation regulatory system should also act more quickly to address the recommendations for safety improvement made by accident investigators," he told Reuters ahead of the talks at the International Civil Aviation Organisation.    
               
While statistics suggest flying is safer than ever in proportion to the amount of traffic, 924 people were killed in passenger accidents last year, the worst for loss of life since 2005, shaking perceptions of air travel worldwide.
               
Last year's disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jet, and the downing of a sister plane on flight MH17 over Ukraine with a combined loss of 539 lives, pose one of the biggest challenges to the 70-year-old U.N. organization since security threats in the 1970s and 1980s.
               
"Like hijackings in the 1970s, the Korean Airlines 007 fighter jet shootdown, and the Pan Am 103 bombing, the downing of MH17 represents an abhorrent, watershed moment in civil aviation history," said Pillsbury Law partner Kenneth Quinn, a former U.S. official who took part in a task force on the issue.
              
 Airlines have called for controls on weapons such as the high-altitude ground-to-air missile suspected of shooting down MH17 over eastern Ukraine last July, and greater sharing of intelligence information on threats.
               
MH17 was hit during fighting between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The United States said the plane was hit with a ground-to-air missile by rebels. Russia says a Ukrainian military aircraft downed it.

Latest News from World News Desk