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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts

    Experts predicted chaos would follow, if Britain decided to vote for Brexit, and chaos has

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora