ICAO: 'Eye in the sky' soon

ICAO: 'Eye in the sky' soon
Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu (L), President-elect of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council, holds a press conference at the ICAO headquarters on May 13, 2014 in Montreal with Nancy Graham (C), ICAO Director air navigation bureau and Kevin Hiatt, IATA vice-president for safety and flight operations. A task force will recommend before September solutions for tracking airlines constantly in the wake of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370's disappearance.

MONTREAL - In the wake of the missing Flight MH370, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will at long last move to introduce the eye in the sky needed to track all airliner movements.

The United Nations aviation agency has agreed on the need for global airline flight tracking which should render instances such as the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane impossible.

The move has been lauded by Malaysia which has been urging the ICAO to push forward the agenda.

"The ICAO has now established a September deadline for "near-term implementation plans for applicable solutions", CNN reported on its website.

ICAO president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu made the announcement on Tuesday after officials from more than 40 countries met in the Canadian city to examine a framework for worldwide standards aimed at preventing similar mysteries.

He said in a statement that ICAO would continue to provide the necessary leadership to ensure all issues were considered expeditiously to enable a "performance-based" international standard for global airline flight tracking.

"We will also be looking closely at the most effective means of sharing tracking data when needed with applicable search and rescue and accident investigation authorities," he said.

In the meantime, a 20-member task force representing regulators, airlines, manufactu­rers, pilots and others will meet monthly in order to propose a framework of solutions about how to better track planes by September, USA Today reported on its website.

Flight MH370 has been missing since March 8 despite a massive international search.

"One of the most astonishing things about this tragedy is the revelation that an airliner the size of a Boeing 777 can vanish, almost without a trace," Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wrote in an article published in The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

He said that in an age of smartphones and mobile Internet, real-time tracking of commercial planes was long overdue.

"After Air France 447 crashed into the Atlantic (in 2009), investigators recommended that the airline industry introduce improvements that would help search teams quickly locate a crash site and reach any survivors."

"But no action was taken," he said.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the move was a step in the right direction.

"The system is good and with this we hope incidents such as the disappearance of MH370 can be avoided," he said.

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