After MH 370 tragedy, ICAO looks into global flight tracking

MONTREAL – It’s a devastating loss for hundreds of families. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 lost contact with traffic control March 8 and nothing – no debris or evidence – has surfaced since.

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Now, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is using this tragedy to make a plan for better global tracking systems and it has spent the last two days discussing how to make it work.

“Ultimately, in order to assure that every aircraft will be tracked, we need standards that will be converted to regulations,” said Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, ICAO Council President.

ICAO is working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to make global tracking more of a priority.

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They’ve put together a task force to set the first international standard for tracking planes.

“Not all aircrafts are create equal or have the same equipage,” said Kevin Hiatt, IATA Senior VP Safety and Flight Operations.

“What the task force will do is take a look at the equipage, take a look at the types of aircrafts that are out there.”

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ICAO wants planes to transmit basic flight information like position, altitude, and speed more frequently.

It also wants to improve communication over oceans and remote areas, but even once this is established, it will be up to countries to implement and enforce the regulation.

“We’re also going to be encouraging a series of drills or scenarios on certain parts of the world – in fact all over the world – that will enable what is really an extraordinarily rare event to be drilled,” said Nancy Graham, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau Director.

The agency, which is governed by the United Nations, said that what happened in March with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight is unacceptable.

“We take the loss of every single aircraft and every single life seriously,” said Aliu.

The new global tracking plan is expected to be underway by the end of the year.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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