IATA director general Tony Tyler says that the loss of an aircraft such as Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 must never happen again, and that live streaming of data is something that needs to be seriously examined.
"This can't happen again," said Tyler, speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the IATA Ops conference in Kuala Lumpur. "It has never happened before, but we must ensure it never happens again."
Tyler made the comments to a packed room, during which every question asked related to MH370. Journalists peppered Tyler with questions about passport security, the live streaming of flight data, transponders, crew psychological tests, cockpit voice recorders, flight data recorders, and various other issues related to MH370.
The IATA Ops conference has a very strong focus on safety, but its presence in KL during the MH370 crisis is a coincidence, as it was organised months ago.
Tyler was careful not to be drawn into speculation as to what may have happened to the 777-200ER on Saturday 8 March when it disappeared from air traffic control radar. He made it clear that he had no desire whatsoever to add to the "ocean of speculation" around the aircraft's disappearance.
He said that live streaming of data is an issue that should be "looked at quite carefully," but questioned the technical practicality of having 100,000 flights daily streaming all data.
To gain a better understanding of real-time data streaming, IATA is creating a task force to look into the issue. The task force will look at the technology available today, and that what may be available in the future. Members will come from various concerned parties, such as the ICAO, equipment manufacturers, and even search and rescue professionals.
"[Data streaming] is something experts need to look at and examine. We will do everything we can to get this looked at throughly and carefully."
He stressed that the effort to implement such technology will involve a number of players: regulators, airframers, equipment manufacturers, and airlines. He added that if such a system is implemented, it needs to be done on a global basis to be effective. He stressed further that the implementation of such a system needs to be carefully thought out, despite the urgent call for change in the general media.
Tyler also had supportive words for how Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government have handled the crisis. He noted that the unprecedented nature and the utter lack of information about the aircraft have put officials in a extremely difficult position.
"The authorities and airline have bent over backwards to be transparent and pass on information," he said.
Nearly four weeks after the disappearance of MH370, investigators remain completely in the dark as to what caused the aircraft to disappear while operating a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and fly off to the far reaches of the southern Indian Ocean. The aircraft carried 227 passengers and 12 crew.