India orders real time aircraft tracking after MH370 mystery

NEW DELHI Wed May 7, 2014 3:16pm IST

A passenger aircraft is silhouetted against the rising moon in New Delhi May 7, 2009. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

A passenger aircraft is silhouetted against the rising moon in New Delhi May 7, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's civil aviation regulator has instructed airlines to track all aircraft in real time, a decision the regulator said was prompted by the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

The directives will apply to both passenger and cargo planes, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared almost two months ago. Authorities believe the flight ended in the ocean west of Australia but have not found any trace of the plane, including the black box flight recorders which could reveal reasons why the plane diverted so far off course.

"While commercial air transport aircraft spend a considerable amount of time operating over remote areas, there is currently no international requirement for real time tracking of the aircraft," the DGCA said.

The regulator has ordered Indian carriers to track aircraft in real time using onboard Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) or Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B).

DGCA also said airlines should devise a procedure to track aircraft flying over areas not covered by ACARS or ADS-B. It ordered flight crews report aircraft coordinates, speed and altitude every 15 minutes while flying over such areas.

The regulator said airlines should monitor faults and warning messages of ACARS and that flight crews must immediately report any issue with ACARS or ADS-B to ground stations using a voice or data link.

DGCA said it would review implementation of the directives during surveillance inspections.

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Michael Urquhart and Christopher Cushing)

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