India Orders Real-Time Plane Tracking After MH370 Tragedy

Malaysia Airlines Flight no MH370, Boeing 777
Malaysia Airlines Flight no MH370, Boeing 777

India ordered its airlines to track planes real-time from takeoff to landing after a Malaysian report on the disappearance of Flight 370 recommended the step.

All aircraft ferrying passengers and cargo should be monitored for an interim period until theInternational Air Transport Association outlines suggestions for continuous tracking by the end of 2014, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in an e-mailed statement today.

Airlines must use the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast if ACARS is disabled, the DGCA said. In areas beyond either system’s coverage, flight crew must report co-ordinates, speed and altitude at least every 15 minutes, it said.

The hunt for the Malaysian Airline System Bhd.-operated Boeing Co. 777-200ER, which had 239 people on board, is the longest for a missing passenger jet in modern aviation history. The plane’s disappearance on March 8 has baffled authorities after contact was lost less than an hour into a routine trip to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The Indian requirements fall short of the automatic, satellite-based surveillance the world needs, said Mark D. Martin, chief executive officer of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC, which advises airlines on strategy. They may also raise airlines’ costs and crew workload and potentially block radio signals, he said.