Malaysia recommends introduction of real-time aircraft tracking

KUALA LUMPUR Thu May 1, 2014 9:03am EDT

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's Transport Ministry is recommending that the International Civil Aviation Organization, the U.N. body that oversees global aviation, examines the safety benefits of introducing a standard for real-time tracking of commercial air transport aircraft.

In a report dated April 9 but released on Thursday, the ministry pointed to the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and Air France flight AF447 in 2009 as evidence that such real-time tracking would help to better track aircraft.

"There have now been two occasions during the last five years when large commercial air transport aircraft have gone missing and their last position was not accurately known. This uncertainty resulted in significant difficulty in locating the aircraft in a timely manner," the ministry said.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER disappeared while on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March. The search for the aircraft, which had 239 passengers and crew on board, initially took place in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. It moved to the Indian Ocean only about three weeks after the disappearance as a result of new satellite data.

(This story corrects last word in name of U.N. body to organization from authority)

(Reporting by Siva Govindasamy; Editing by Robert Birsel)