MONTREAL - The U.N. civil aviation body, ICAO, will meet in Montreal next week with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other agencies to discuss airline safety following last week's downing of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine, two sources said on Thursday.
Such a gathering would be unusual since the International Civil Aviation Organization has no operational role and cannot open or close air routes or warn carriers to avoid conflict zones.
But since Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down last week over a part of eastern Ukrainecontrolled by Russian-speaking separatists, killing 298 people, some industry figures have urged ICAO to take on a bigger role and issue risk advisories.
Senior agency officials will meet the industry lobby group IATA, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization and Airports Council International to discuss the respective roles of each in airspace over conflict zones, the sources said.
"The idea is for the partners to discuss solutions," said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for ICAO, which groups 191 nations, said a meeting was under discussion.
"I expect official confirmation tomorrow on whether this will happen or not," said Anthony Philbin.
IATA in Geneva declined to comment.
Tim Clark, president of Dubai's Emirates [EMIRA.UL], one of the world's largest airlines, told Reuters on Sunday he wanted an international conference of carriers to agree a response to the disaster, a call backed by Lufthansa.
Clark told CNN on Wednesday the airline industry needed to take stock of the growing risks from regional conflict and questioned whether all airlines, particularly from smaller countries, were receiving the same degree of intelligence sharing about possible threats.
He said the aim of such a conference would be to look at standards and security protocols.
"I'm hoping in the next few weeks in the aftermath of this tragedy that we can get around the table and at least start having some brainstorming sessions to see what can be improved," he said.
ICAO said Wednesday it was holding talks with airlines and states on how to assess the danger posed by conflict but gave no further details.
Sources said earlier this week that ICAO representatives were considering whether the agency should issue safety advisory notices about conflict zones.
National aviation authorities are ultimately responsible for their own airspace. Aviation experts and officials doubt whether member nations would agree to any step that might curb their sovereignty, such as sharing sensitive information.
In 2013, ICAO released a policy paper on risk, to encourage states to share information about terrorist threats.
ICAO has yet to convene an emergency meeting of its executive council, a step it took after a Soviet jet shot down a Korean airliner in 1983 and a U.S. cruiser downed an Iranian passenger jet in 1988.