June 7, 2014
Another Flight MH370 May Be Prevented With New Tracking Technology

Another Flight MH370 could be prevented with the new tracking technology that is currently being implemented in aircrafts. While this technology has been available for some time now, the equipment needed has been lacking. Now, airline companies are willingly to improve tracking at any expense.

"Not all aircraft are equipped the same, it's just like an automobile, there are different options you can fit in the aircraft, so we'll explore what options are currently onboard and see how it can be used to fill this gap," said Tony Tyler, CEO of the International Air Transport Association.

Flight MH370 was an international flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that lost contact with air traffic control in March 2014. No crash site has been found and there has been no confirmation of any flight debris. Flight MH370 did not include any new tracking equipment, so its exact location cannot be pinpointed. Authorities have been searching in the Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea, Strait of Malacca, and Andaman Sea for the missing Flight MH370, but to no avail. All souls on board are presumed to be dead.

"We're already doing quite a lot," said Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group. "We routinely send position messages with our ACARS messages and that's something we've done for many years and something we'll continue to do. We send ACARS messages every 30 minutes." ACARS is a type of communication between planes and the ground, developed in the 1970s.

With the new tracking technology, flight data is sent from the plane every 10 minutes, supplying 3 times the data that Flight MH370 did. Also, if a plane deviates from its flight course, a message is sent every minute to accurately track the plane. "We have the equipment on board; it's a decision plus some investment to increase the frequency of the messages," says Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of Air France.

Another improvement was upgrading the battery life of the black box recorder to three months. The black box in Flight MH370 is believed to have cut off communications because of exhausted batteries. Extending the battery life to three months could allow for more time for an aircraft to be found.

All of this technology has been introduced and implemented in light of the Flight MH370 tragedy. More frequent tracking updates and an extended battery life on the black box are all precautions to avoid another airline tragedy.

[Image via AFP/ Wang Zhao]