AirAsia retrofitting fleet with tracking tech; QZ8501 missed upgrade

AirAsia retrofitting fleet with tracking tech; QZ8501 missed upgrade
Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik gives the final touches to his sand sculpture portraying two missing aircraft, Air Asia QZ8501 and Malayasia Airlines MH370 on Golden Sea Beach at Puri, some 65 kms east of Bhubaneswar on December 29, 2014.

AirAsia's fleet of aircraft was being retrofitted with tracking technology, but flight QZ8501 missed the upgrade.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, AirAsia is an early adopter of this technology in the aviation industry, which was spooked by the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH370 in March 2014.

Chris McLaughlin, vice president of external affairs at satellite services provider Inmarsat PLC, said that the budget carrier had some of its A320s fitted with satellite communications early in 2014. The retrofitted aircrafts will then provide updates on their positions every two minutes.

Unfortunately, AirAisa Indonesia flight QZ8501 was not a recipient of this update.

Inmarsat's technology was thrown into the spotlight after the British company used its satellite to trace the area where MH370 could have last been.

The satellite was able to pick up seven pings from MH370; Inmarsat's scientists analysed the faint pings to determine MH370's flight path.

However, the exact location of MH370 remains a mystery till date.

grongloh@sph.com.sg

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