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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs