(Refiled to remove extraneous text characters in headline)
By Siva Govindasamy and Victoria Bryan
DOHA, June 3 Moves by airlines to keep track of
their aircraft in real time following the disappearance of
Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370 could push up ticket
prices for passengers - but governments should also foot part of
the bill, airline industry leaders said on Tuesday.
Senior executives attending the International Air Transport
Association's (IATA) annual meeting in Doha this week said they
needed to install a tracking system to ensure no more airliners
could simply vanish as the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER
did in March.
Passengers, however, would have to bear at least some of the
cost of automated tracking that is eventually expected to become
"This would be an additional cost and would be passed to
passengers," Finnair's chief executive Pekka Vauramo
told Reuters at the IATA meeting.
"Who is the ultimate beneficiary of the services that the
airlines provide? The answer is the passenger," Japan Airlines'
chairman, Masaru Onishi, added.
"Along those lines, the airlines need to continue studying
this system, especially as it pertains to the cost of not only
the widespread introduction but also the sustainability of a
system," he said.
IATA, which represents most of the world's airlines,
announced last month that it had formed a task force to look at
the various options.
Preliminary recommendations will be presented first to the
International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September
and then to the industry by the end of the year, Kevin Hiatt,
IATA's senior vice president, Safety and Flight Operations, told
reporters at the Doha meeting.
"Aviation stakeholders are united in their desire to ensure
that we never face another situation where an aircraft simply
disappears," said Hiatt.
"While states work through ICAO to develop and implement
performance-based global standards, the industry is committed to
moving forward with recommendations that airlines can implement
However, he added at the press conference that IATA is
working with ICAO to ensure that governments "have a part in
this" when it comes to the cost.
He declined to say if airlines could ultimately pass the
cost on to passengers, with an IATA spokesman adding that the
association was not involved in "airline pricing decisions".
Meanwhile All Nippon Airways president and chief
executive Osamu Shinobe said there were "many practical issues"
that needed to be considered in looking for a solution.
"We cannot reach an easy conclusion just to have a tracking
system. Therefore, before it becomes reality, we have to
consider many aspects, including the cost. Otherwise, it is just
a pie in the sky," he added.
The CEO of another major Asian airline, who asked not to be
identified, added: "If governments pay, passengers will have
higher taxes. If airlines pay, passenges will have higher ticket
prices. That is why we must be careful about what we implement.
It has to be what we need and not anything more than that."
(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Greg Mahlich)