News / Asia

    Global Airline Industry Begins Study to Prevent MH370 Repeat

    FILE - Japan Coast Guard's Gulfstream V aircraft flies in the search zone for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
    FILE - Japan Coast Guard's Gulfstream V aircraft flies in the search zone for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
    Global airlines are studying how to prevent a repeat of last month's disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane, one of more than 80 aircraft to vanish in flight since the mid-20th century.
     
    The International Air Transport Association, which represents 240 airlines, said last week it is creating a panel to examine how to improve real-time aircraft tracking. IATA plans to make recommendations by the end of this year.
     
    In an interview with VOA, Washington-based IATA spokesman Perry Flint said the trade group is consulting experts from airlines, aircraft manufacturers and systems makers, search and rescue organizations, and the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization.
     
    "This sort of task force may be unique," Flint said. "But, the air transport industry also has organized international meetings in the past to address specific challenges."
     
    How the study will unfold
     
    Flint said the new panel will focus on real-time tracking of aircraft, rather than streaming of flight performance data for aircraft systems. He said any proposed improvements would not be likely to involve installing entirely new systems on planes.
     
    Flint also said there is no guarantee about what will happen to IATA's recommendations. As an industry group, it can appeal for action but cannot mandate any steps by national or international authorities.
     
    "Our main goal is to never be in a situation where we don't know where an airplane is," Flint said. "There are about 100,000 flights a day, and almost every day, every one of them ends on a runway somewhere. In situations where a flight does not end on a runway, we want to know where it is."
     
    Such situations have arisen before.
     
    History of aircraft disappearances
     
    A Netherlands-based aviation accident database has recorded 88 cases of missing planes since World War II.
     
    The Aviation Safety Network said 62 of them involve aircraft vanishing over water, as happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8.
     
    Lead database manager Harro Ranter said most disappearances at sea appear to have involved aircraft running out of fuel or suffering engine problems.
     
    He said most of the other planes went missing over mountainous terrain, leading authorities to assume they were flying too low or caught in poor weather.
     
    Ranter, who also serves as an adviser to the Dutch government, said the disappearance of MH370 stands out from the other cases in several ways.
     
    What makes MH370 unique?
     
    He said first and foremost, the case involves the highest number of people ever to be lost on a missing aircraft. The Malaysia Airlines plane was carrying 239 passengers and crew on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
     
    The previous record for people lost on a missing plane was set on March 16, 1962, when a U.S. military charter flight carrying 107 people, mostly soldiers, vanished over the Pacific Ocean on a flight from Guam to the Philippines.
     
    Ranter also said most the 88 missing plane cases happened in the 1960s and 1970s.
     
    "In those days, navigation equipment and satellite coverage were nonexistent or not as advanced as they are today," he said. "The Boeing 777 involved in MH370 had a very high safety standard, was considered very reliable, and was operated by an airline also considered very safe and reliable."
     
    Ranter said almost all of the disappearances in more recent decades involve cargo aircraft and relatively small private planes, rather than commercial passenger flights.
    Error rendering storify.

    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jerry from: Denver
    April 11, 2014 4:33 PM
    It seems to me that creating a tamper-proof system that transmits realtime data cannot be that hard. Included within that system is equipment that transmits while in flight and then, to cut down on storage, that data is archived and/or deleted when a signal is sent that it has safely reached its destination. All done automatically and tracked minute by minute. Very rough idea but you get the picture. I am so surprised that in this day in age, tracking planes has so many weaknesses!!

    by: Lou from: Atlanta
    April 11, 2014 8:11 AM
    Hardwiring the transponders "always on" would be a great start!

    by: abdub from: marsabit
    April 11, 2014 5:29 AM
    its pilot error may b he had bad day wid his wife

    by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi-Ghana
    April 11, 2014 4:58 AM
    It sounds good! Should I remind that it should cover the pilots also?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora