India asks airlines to track flights in real time
NEW DELHI (Dow Jones) -- India on Wednesday required all airlines in the country to track their planes on a real-time basis, a decision regulators said was driven by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
All scheduled and chartered airlines--both passenger and cargo--must use one of two systems to communicate continuously with their aircraft while they are airborne, according to rules issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The two technologies are Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B.
The carriers also must "devise a procedure for effective tracking of the aircraft while flying over areas where there is no coverage of ACARS or ADS-B," the regulator said. The "flight crew should report the aircraft coordinates, speed and altitude at an interval of not exceeding 15 minutes" in such cases, it said.
The regulator said the move is in response to the mysterious disappearance this year of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing Co. 777-200 aircraft carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew as it traveled toward Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. The aircraft disappeared on March 8 and has yet to be found.
The Indian regulator pointed out in its order that, in the disappearance of the Malaysia flight, the ACARS system had stopped making its full transmissions.
"While commercial air-transport aircrafts spend considerable amount of time operating over remote areas, there is currently no international requirement for real-time tracking of the aircraft," the ministry said. Incidents like the Malaysia tragedy "have prompted the DGCA to take necessary action," it said in its statement.