Malaysia Airlines to track entire fleet with satellites

But Malaysia Air's deal with Aireon LLC will enable the airline to use the company's forthcoming satellite network which is due to be finished in 2018 to monitor its own air crafts. The service will provide more regular updates on the location of airplanes, particularly when traveling in remote areas such as oceans.

Malaysia Airlines says the new system, which is expected to be operational in 2018, will use 66 low-earth-orbit satellites that can fill in those gaps.

"Real-time global aircraft tracking has always been a goal of the aviation community", Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer Capt. Izham Ismail said in the statement. The airline says it will be the first to do so.

The new solution will help upgrade existing SITAOnAir Aircom FlightTracker by combining Aireon's space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data with the existing data from global aviation company FlightAware's multiple global sources.

"The result will be that Malaysia Airlines will have greater visibility of its aircraft's exact location", he said.

Most worldwide flights are already transmitting their position with technology known as ADS-B and the signals can be tracked from the ground or space. Its transponder and the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System stopped communicating while over the Gulf of Thailand, with no information coming in or out about the aircraft's position and identity to air traffic control.

MH370-a Boeing 777-200ER with 239 passengers and crew aboard-veered from its planned course about 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on March 8, 2014.

SITAONAIR added that no new avionics or modifications are needed to use the service; it will work for all ADS-B Out-equipped aircraft.

In the absence of those systems, investigators have had to rely on obscure satellite data to piece together Flight 370's possible path to the southern Indian Ocean.

Flight MH370 which disappeared in 2014, was similarly packed with such equipment but vanished without a trace.

The deep-water search for the flight was called off earlier this year.

The plane's location transmitter went dead, with some suspecting that it was deliberately disabled, and the plane would not have been visible to the satellite network.

  • Zachary Reyes