The West

Tracking service offer to airlines

In the wake of the MH370 tragedy, British satellite company Inmarsat is offering the airline industry a free global airline tracking service and a special black box download if an aircraft deviates off its flight path.

The announcement comes as the International Civil Aviation Organisation holds a conference in Montreal to explore ways of preventing another MH370 disappearance.

The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on March 8, less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Inmarsat is also proposing a special crew distress alarm if the flight attendants suspect any illegal actions by pilots or hijackers.

The tracking service is being offered to all 11,000 commercial passenger planes, which are already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection, virtually 100 per cent of the world's long-haul commercial fleet.

In addition to this free service, Inmarsat will also offer both an enhanced position reporting service to support reduced in-flight aircraft separation, and what it terms as "black box in the cloud" service, under which - on the back of certain defined trigger events such as an unapproved course deviation - historic and real-time flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder information can be streamed from a plane to defined aviation safety organisations.

Rupert Pearce, chief executive of Inmarsat, said the company strongly supported ICAO's decision to place the delivery of next-generation aviation safety services at the heart of the industry's agenda.

"Inmarsat has been providing global aviation safety services for over 20 years and we are confident the proposals we have presented to ICAO and the International Air Transport Association represent a major contribution to enhancing services," Mr Pearce said.

Mr Pearce added that because of the universal nature of existing Inmarsat aviation services, its proposals can be implemented immediately on all trans-ocean commercial flights using equipment that is already installed.

Inmarsat is also suggesting giving flight attendants the capability of initiating a "satcom flare" that would serve as a distress signal in the event of an emergency.

'We are confident the proposals represent a major contribution to aviation safety services. " Inmarsat chief executive

  • Rupert Pearce *

The West Australian

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