PHOTO: A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777. (photo via Flickr/Aero Icarus)
Malaysia Airlines has become the first carrier to sign up for a satellite service that will track its entire fleet of aircraft in real-time.
The move comes just more than three years after the airline’s Flight MH-370 disappeared from radar en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March of 2014. All 239 people on board were believed to be killed, and the plane was never found although bits and pieces of wreckage verified to have been from MH-370 have washed up on shore in the south Indian Ocean.
The tracking service, to be implemented in 2018, will use low-earth-orbit satellites in a partnership with air transport connectivity corporation SITAONAIR, air traffic surveillance company Aireon and flight tracking data service company FlightAware.
Normally, aircraft are tracked through both a ground-based system and, of course, radar. But there are remote regions of the world, as well as some ocean areas, that planes fly over where those systems are rendered useless.
“Real-time global aircraft tracking has long been a goal of the aviation community. We are proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution,” Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer Izham Ismail said in a statement to Bloomberg.
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The satellite system will allow real-time, minute-by-minute tracking even in remote regions.
"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," Paul Gibson of SITAONAIR said in the statement.