MAS will soon able to track aircraft real time, globally


Malaysian Airlines closed a deal with a group of aviation industry firms to use a satellite tracking service for its entire fleet.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, when it turned around, flew back across Malaysia and then turned toward the remote reaches of the southern Indian Ocean.

The air carrier is partnering with three companies - FlightAware, SITANOAIR and Aireon - to use the minute-by-minute flight update system. However, a massive underwater search to locate the plane failed and was called off in January.

Malaysia Airlines made history and became the first airline to sign an agreement for space-based flight tracking of its aircraft.

The airline will receive minute-by-minute tracking information about flight position, even in oceanic or remote areas where there is now no surveillance.

Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer Izham Ismail said in the release: "Real-time global aircraft tracking has always been a goal of the aviation community".

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has required that planes must transmit their location once every 15 minutes by November of next year.

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In addition, the space-based ADS-B data will help bridge any existing data feed coverage gaps that remain, particularly over oceanic and remote airspace, where there is now no surveillance.

The new trackers are set to go into use in 2018. Malaysia Airlines is the first Sitaonair customer to sign up to the scheme.

But when an aircraft passes beyond 240km above the open seas, cockpits switch from the transponders to high-frequency radio equipment to keep in contact with air traffic control stations. Bloomberg reports that the aircraft would not have been visible to satellite networks given that its location transmitter died.

Besides location, the satellite system will also give Malaysia Airlines a plane's speed, altitude and heading.

"Real-time global aircraft tracking has always been a goal of the aviation community".

Aireon's space-based ADS-B system will offer a global solution that works for all ADS-B Out equipped aircraft everywhere. The first 10 satellites launched earlier this year.