QATAR airways is carrying out tests to become the first airline in the world to install an automatic tracking system that would replace the current radar system.
Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told a press conference in Doha that the technology was being tested ahead of a fleet wide roll out.
“Once this has been proven and all the bugs have been cleared then Qatar Airways will, I hope, be the first airliner to introduce this in all our planes,” he told reporters.
In response to worldwide pressure for tighter airline monitoring after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the new system will stream flight data from a planes black box directly to an airline’s operation centre on the ground in real time.
Reported in Bloomberg, it is part of an aviation safety overhaul as the industry comes under scruity for being unable to explain the mysterious fate of MH370.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) set up an expert task force in June 2014 to review current tracking methods and highlighted three areas of concern. These were installing tamper proofing airline tracking, tracking to one nautical mile or better and giving airlines one year to implement the recommended new system.
The IATA however has come under fire from some airlines who say adopting these new criteria within a year is unreasonable. The International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations aviation regulator, has instead proposed that commercial planes be required to report their position every 15 minutes.
Qatar’s decision to install this new type of tracking means that its planes will be automatically tracked from takeoff to landing without control from pilots, removing any issues of tampering and providing real-time aircraft monitoring.
Jan 14 2015