MH370: Malaysia to host flight-tracking discussion

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Malaysia’s government is to host a gathering to discuss the real-time monitoring of flight data this month, in the wake of the disappearance of flight MH370.

The loss of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on 8 March, and the subsequent failure to detect any trace of the aircraft, have served as the “impetus” for the event, says the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.

It says the government will organise the international dialogue on 27-28 May in Kuala Lumpur to look at various options for monitoring aircraft and flight-recorder data, and to begin charting a “roadmap” to co-ordinate with various interested parties.

“As the multi-nation search for the missing aircraft continues, we must undertake immediate steps at the international level to increase efficiency in the tracking of aircraft,” says ITU secretary general Hamadoun Touré.

“This event will serve to accelerate on-going efforts to achieve consensus on real-time tracking solutions for the aviation industry.”

The ITU says technological solutions could involve cloud computing and real-time air-to-ground streaming of flight data.

But the issue raises questions over geographical coverage, data transmission levels, security and analysis – as well as the matter of costs.

Malaysian communications and multimedia minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek says the government wants to contribute to the effort to find ways of improving commercial aircraft tracking.

“We are still searching for MH370 more than seven weeks after the disappearance of the aircraft,” he says. “This work may not help us locate our aircraft or its [flight recorders]. But we hope that, with these measures, no other country, people or family will ever have to go through what we are now enduring."