Malaysia Airlines will be first to monitor its planes via satellite

Posted April 20, 2017

According to a report from Bloomberg, Malaysia Airlines has struck a deal with Aireon, SITAONAIR, and FlightAware and will be the first airline company to track its fleet using satellite technology which is due to be completed in 2018.

In 2014, its MH370 flight was heading from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when the plane and the 239 people on board disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines will be the first airline customer to get access to global flight tracking data from an enhanced system developed by SITAONAIR and Aireon.

Airplanes will not need new avionics or modifications to use the service, which will become operational in 2018.

But it is unclear if the additional tracking ability would have had any impact on the MH370 disappearance.

The airline will receive minute-by-minute tracking information about flight position, even in oceanic or remote areas where there is now no surveillance.

Under the SITAONAIR agreement, Malaysia Airlines will adopt the real-time alerting system, giving it minute-by-minute, space-based global tracking across its whole fleet.

Most global flights use technology known as ADS-B, whose signals can be tracked from the ground or space.

To prevent future calamities like this on open water, the United Nations pushed a specific signal or transponder system that can be tracked from the ground or by a satellite.

The new space-based tracking system, due to be operational from 2018, was developed by US -based Aireon, which is working with FlightAware on plane tracking. Inmarsat Plc, which runs a satellite network that competes with Iridium, offers a separate service for airlines that uses traditional communication systems instead of the ADS-B transmissions. Customers of SITAONAIR's AIRCOM FlightTracker will automatically begin seeing the new Aireon data appear in their systems.

The fate of MH370 remains one of the world's greatest aviation mystery.

While debris from the plane has been found washed ashore on African beaches, the main wreckage was never located despite years of searching. Australia, Malaysia, and China called off a two-year underwater search for the aircraft in January.