The tragedy of flight MH370 has highlighted to need for improved tracking of aircraft, IATA told industry leaders in Malaysia this week.
Addressing the opening of the IATA OPS Conference in Kuala Lumpur, IATA’s director-general & CEO, Tony Tyler urged the governments of the world to come together and create a global solution to international aircraft tracking.
“In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief that an aircraft could simply disappear,” Tyler told conference attendees. “Air France 447 brought similar issues to light a few years ago and some progress was made. But that must be accelerated. We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish.”
He went on to warn however, that desire to find MH370 must not lead to rushed regulations.
“In our eagerness to move this along, we must also ensure that prudent decisions are made in line with global standards. This is not the time for hastily prepared sales pitches or regional solutions. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) process is the way to move this forward. I have no doubt that governments are eager to come to a conclusion and take action as soon as possible,” said Tyler.
For its part, Tyler said that IATA will convene an “expert task force” that will work with ICAO to examine the options for improved aircraft tracking. This group will report its conclusions by December 2014.
In addition, Tyler urged governments to improve the exchange and use of passenger data. This issue has been highlighted after it was revealed that two passengers aboard MH370 were travelling on stolen passports.
“The industry goes to great effort and expense to ensure that governments have reliable information about passengers before an aircraft takes off,” said Tyler. “Governments need to review their processes for vetting and using this data, such as Interpol’s stolen and lost passport database. This information is critical and it must be used effectively,” he added.
Meanwhile, IATA has revealed that the air safety record for Western-build jets in 2013 was just one accident for every 2.4 million flights. Air crash fatalities fell almost 50% in 2013, to 210 deaths, while only one-in-five air crashes that occurred in 2013 was fatal.