Commercial Passenger Planes May Soon Be Required To Report Their Position Every 15 Minutes

Flight tracking. Photo: Getty Images

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will propose a new standard requiring commercial aircraft to report their position every 15 minutes.

If the scheme, set to be debated at a major safety conference in Montreal next month, is approved by ICAO members, it could be implemented immediately as it would not require any additional technology or aircraft improvements, Reuters reported.

The United Nations aviation agency’s proposal follows the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March last year, which triggered airline industry group International Air Transport Association (IATA) to establish an industry task force to improve tracking.

The task force recommended airlines begin tracking planes in at least 15 minute intervals within 12 months from December 2014 but then retracted the deadline, saying it was not practical.

ICAO spokesperson Anthony Philbin referred to the proposal as a “foundational flight tracking standard” and said the organisation could force airlines to act because its safety standards typically become regulatory requirements in its 191 member states.

According to an ICAO working paper, the majority of long-haul aircraft already have satellite systems on board which transmit aircraft position; however, this equipment is not always switched on and in some locations there are gaps in coverage.

Philbin said radio could be used to meet draft standards as a fallback for aircraft that do not have up-to-date technology.

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