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Discussions underway for major aviation meeting next week

MONTREAL - Discussions have been held to set up a meeting of representatives of various international organizations and states that are involved in the airline industry.

A spokeswoman for the International Air Transport Association, which represents air carriers, said a meeting is in the works for Montreal next week but has not yet been confirmed.

The meeting would focus on the safety of air travel in light of a spate of aviation disasters that has shaken the confidence of flyers.

An Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital crashed Thursday. There were 116 people aboard, including five Canadians.

Flyers around the globe have been on edge ever since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March on its way to Beijing. Searchers have yet to find a single piece of wreckage from the jet with 239 people on board.

Last week, a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying over a war-torn section of Ukraine. A Canadian was among the almost 300 who died in that disaster.

The back-to-back disasters involving Boeing 777s flown by the same airline were too much of a coincidence for many flyers.

An official with Airports Council International, which represents the world's airports, said the group is awaiting confirmation from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about the upcoming meeting.

ICAO, the UN body that governs civil aviation, said it has been consulting with various international and regional organizations about their roles in assessing the risks posed to airspace.

"If invited to participate, ACI will of course join the discussion as airports are an important part of the aviation industry and we are deeply committed to the safety and security of the travelling public," Martine Ohayon said in an email.

Airports Council International's members operate 1,861 airports in 177 countries and territories.

IATA CEO Tony Tyler said the number of passenger aircraft fatalities so far this year is already higher than last year's total.

"In 2013 more than three billion people flew and there were 210 fatalities," he said in a statement.

"Regrettably, we have surpassed that number already this year. But even so, getting on an aircraft is still among the safest activities that one can do."

Tyler noted that approximately 100,000 flights take to the sky and land without incident every day.

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