Flight MH370 disappearance prompts UN agency to improve aircraft tracking
Published Sunday, May 18, 2014 10:23PM EDT
In the wake of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370's disappearance, a United Nations agency that oversees international civil aviation says it has set a "near-term" deadline for the implementation of a worldwide airline tracking system
The U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is expected to unveil a plan in September to create a global flight tracking system.
A task force consisting of airline regulators, airlines, pilots and parts manufactures will be working on the plan.
"What we will do is take a look at all of the solutions that are being provided by vendors and other sources and evaluate which ones will be the most viable for the industry," Kevin Hiatt, senior vice-president of the International Air Transport Association, told reporters.
The ICAO's announcement comes after a two-day special meeting in Montreal last week where representatives of more than 40 countries met to discuss how to prevent a repeat of the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370.
"The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), upon completion of this special meeting on global flight tracking of aircraft, forged consensus among its member states and the international air transport industry sector on the near-term priority to track airline flights, no matter their global location or destination," a statement from the ICAO said.
Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China.
An intense international search has so far failed to locate the Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers and crew.
The cost of outfitting a single plane with tracking equipment is expected to be as much as $100,000.
The idea of a creating a real-time global flight tracking system is not new. Calls to implement one were put forward after the Air France 447 flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. More than 220 people were killed in that disaster.
With a report from CTV News' Vanessa Lee