The Korean Air (KAL) Boeing 747-300 fatal crash at Guam on 6 August has highlighted the need for use of minimum safe-altitude warning (MSAW) systems at airports worldwide, says the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF).

There was a fault in the Guam MSAW software when KAL's 747 hit a hill during its non-precision approach. Investigators say that a functioning MSAW system might have prevented the disaster, which killed 227 people.

The system, which uses software in air-traffic-control computers, alerts controllers when radar returns show aircraft descending below sector minimum safe altitudes. The MSAW is operational at 191 US airports, in Israel and, to a limited extent, Italy and Japan.

"Any airport with approach radar that fails to include MSAW capability is missing a golden opportunity to make flying safer," says the FSF.

Source: Flight International