AVIATION is "basically very safe" and all the air crashes that happened with major airlines in recent years were combined results of "very rare" factors without a common trend for the crashes, a senior ICAO official said recently. Paul Lamy, Deputy Director of the Air Navigation Bureau of the international Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), made the remarks after an Air France airliner with 228 people on board from Rio to Paris disappeared Monday over the Atlantic. It is believed to have crashed, resulting in the world's worst aviation disaster since 2001. Despite difficulties, great progress has been made in improving aviation safety over the past years, resulting in "a trend that is seeing basically less and less accidents", he said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua from the agency's Montreal headquarters. Aviation is a very safe transportation and the number of people killed in international air accidents remain relatively small despite increasing air traffic in recent years, said Lamy, who once served as the French Directorate of Civil Aviation before joining ICAO more than 20 years ago. "Looking at the crashes of the major airlines during the past five years, we do not see any real trend basically for the causes," he said. It looks like the Air France crash is also "kind of unusual event" which is very difficult to see what has happened without further information about the crash, he said. "Because the aviation is very very safe, it's surely difficult to find trend which is easy to address. We need to do very sophisticated research and analysis of the crashes in the world. we are working on that," he added. Lamy stressed the vital importance of safety in aviation and the necessity of all countries to cooperate to enhance safety. "We have to always balance the safety with production, balance the economic goals and safety goals," he said, adding airlines must ensure not to compromise air safety even when they want to cut their costs. In this regard, the ICAO has been engaged in establishing a system that is called "air safety management", which aims to spot potential accidents and incidents before they occur, thus reducing the risk of air crashes to the minimum, he said. The term "safety management" includes two key concepts. First, the concept of a State Safety Programme (SSP), which is an integrated set of regulations and activities aimed at improving safety. Second, the concept of Safety Management Systems (SMS) which is a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures, according to some introductory remarks on the ICAO website. Lamy called on member states to enhance cooperation and exchanges, "the whole aviation system is based on mutual confidence between states," he said. As for the impact of the Air France crash on the aviation industry, Lamy believed that there would be some "very short-term" impact, and after a few days everything would come back to normal without any long term impact. However, he warned investigators to be transparent by providing very detailed and sufficient explanation of what has happened to the public, so as to maintain people's confidence in the industry. Safety will be one of the top priorities on the ICAO's annual conference next March, he said. The ICAO, with 190 members of countries and regions, is a UN agency which codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. DAILY NEWS.