Although aircraft disappearance is thankfully an incredibly rare phenomenon, it can happen, leaving families and friends bereaved with no real closure—and a huge manhunt for authorities to undertake with only scant information about the last whereabouts of the craft.
In a bid to increase chances of finding lost flights, airlines have been working together to create and develop a new tracking system that is more efficient—and works by “pinging” aircraft every fifteen minutes, even in remote areas.
The tracking system was announced at the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) annual conference in Miami, Florida, in which 1,000 representatives from the industry will gather to listen to presentations from dignitaries including Anthony Foxx (Secretary of Transportation), the CEO of American Airlines and the CEO of Alaskan Airlines to name just three.
The conference is taking place in Miami due to the city’s status as a transportation hub to Latin America and other worldwide destinations—and also as the airline industry prepares to make a “rush” on Cuba following the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the island. Thanks to many years of no relations, current flight rules are byzantine, inefficient and require travelers to obtain special licenses from the United States government—and even then, all flights are chartered, making it difficult for the average American to simply fly to Cuba.
However, this should soon be a thing of the past, with new civil aviation agreements being written up that will allow for regular commercial and cargo flights that will make booking a flight to the island—based in the notorious “Bermuda Triangle”—as simple as booking online or visiting a travel agent.
The tracking technology, which is currently under testing, could have helped to locate two flights that disappeared in the Asia Pacific region in 2014. The tests, which are also being undertaken in the Asia-Pacific region, will enable the IATA, a governing body that represents over 250 airlines worldwide, to create a set of rules to be considered by governments and transportation industries worldwide.
Tony Tyler, the CEO of the IATA said that “the plan is that there will be some sort of 15-minute reporting. How it will work will be very much influenced by this implementation initiative that’s going on.
The tests are expected to be completed by Fall 2015. For more details of the tracking system and an overview of the annual conference, please read USA Today’s report.
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