The loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 prompted the international aviation community to speed up implementation of satellite-based tracking services

Improved aircraft-tracking to be introduced by September

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) will introduce concepts for improved aircraft tracking in September.

The association’s director Tony Tyler announced the schedule at the world air transport summit in Doha today.

The efforts to improve aircraft tracking have been provoked and sped up by the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER which vanished without a trace somewhere in the waters of the southern Indian Ocean in early March.

"The loss of MH370 points us to an immediate need,” Tyler said. "A large commercial airliner going missing without a trace for so long is unprecedented in modern aviation. It must not happen again. IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and experts from around the world are working together to identify the best recommendations for improved global tracking,” he said, adding that the working group chaired by IATA will propose several options to ICAO in September.

Last month, UK satellite operator Inmarsat said it will offer free satellite tracking services to all aircraft already carrying its equipment.

IATA's global aviation data management project is building the world's largest database of operational information with data from a global spectrum of industry and government contributors.

"Our ultimate goal is to predict the potential for accidents and so ensure that they don't happen,” Tyler said. “This is not science fiction. Each new data contribution and every improvement in our analytical capabilities moves this closer to reality."

After almost three months of intensive searching, not a single piece of debris or firm evidence has been found that would shed some light on what went wrong with the ill-fated Flight MH370 carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Last week, Australia's Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre announced an end to the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing plane, after nothing had been found.

The agency said that an expanded search of 21,600 square miles, based on satellite analysis of the plane's most likely route, would probably begin in August after commercial side-scan sonar operators were contracted.

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