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Malaysia Airlines to track planes with satellites

Malaysia Airlines to track planes with satellites

Malaysia Airlines to track planes with satellites

  • 19 April 2017
  • From the section Business

A file picture dated 17 July 2016 shows a passenger walking past a Malaysia Airlines aircraft within a viewing gallery of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Image copyright
EPA

Malaysia Airlines has become the first carrier to sign up to a new satellite flight tracking system for its fleet.

It comes three years after its MH370 flight bound for Beijing disappeared with 239 people on board.

Using a soon-to-be-launched satellite network, the airline will be able to monitor its planes in areas where there is currently no surveillance.

They include polar regions and remote areas of oceans not covered by existing systems.

Path change

The airline reached a deal for the service provided by US-based Aireon, FlightAware and SITAONAIR.

The new system can also provide more regular updates on a plane’s location, especially when travelling over oceans and other remote areas, said SIRAONAIR’s portfolio director Paul Gibson.

Aircrafts deviating from a flight path could be identified more quickly as a result, he said.

“With access to up-to-the-minute reporting, Malaysia Airlines will know the location, heading, speed and altitude of all aircraft in its fleet, at all times, and be alerted to any exceptions.”

But it is unclear if the additional tracking ability would have had any impact on the MH370 disappearance.

All tracking systems monitor a plane’s location using its on-board transmitter. When the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight vanished in March 2014, the transmitter signal was lost, with some suspicions it was done deliberately.

Customer confidence

Most flights currently transmit their position using signals tracked from both the ground and space.

The new service, available in 2018, will add to that coverage, using the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation which was launched earlier this year.

The fate of MH370 remains one of the world’s greatest aviation mystery. More than 120,000 sq km (46,300 miles) of the Indian Ocean has been searched with no sign of the aircraft.

Some pieces of debris have been found on African islands including Madagascar.

The deep-water search for the flight was called off earlier this year.

Malaysian Airlines has been trying to win back customers’ confidence, by offering travel discounts and flight promotions.

The carrier’s chief operating officer, Izham Ismail, said the firm was “proud” to be the first airline to sign up for the system.

Source : BBC News – Business

Malaysia Airlines to track planes with satellites

Malaysia Airlines to track planes with satellites

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