Malaysia Airlines first to track all its planes by satellite

Malaysia Airlines first to sign up for global flight tracking

It uses a constellation of 72 communication satellites operated by United States firm Iridium (whose main business is selling satellite phones connected to its network).

"By incorporating this data, Malaysia Airlines" aircraft operations centre will receive real-time position updates of its airborne fleet globally.

"Real-time, global flight tracking, anywhere on the planet will further its safety goals, by allowing Malaysia Airlines to track its aircraft anytime, anywhere", Aireon CEO Don Thoma said. "Real-time global aircraft tracking has always been a goal of the aviation community", said Captain Izham Ismail, Chief Operating Officer, Malaysia Airlines.

Malaysia Airlines chief operating officer Captain Izham Ismail said they were proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution using space-based ADS-B data as part of Sitaonair's AircomĀ® FlightTracker.

Malaysia Airlines will soon use satellites to track its planes.

SITAONAIR added that no new avionics or modifications are needed to use the service; it will work for all ADS-B Out-equipped aircraft. The airline says it will be the first to do so.

Most worldwide flights use technology known as ADS-B, whose signals can be tracked from the ground or space.

Three years ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from radar somewhere above the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board.

But when an aircraft passes beyond 240km above the open seas, cockpits switch from the transponders to high-frequency radio equipment to keep in contact with air traffic control stations. Because the plane's location transmission system went dead, the signals that would have been received by a satellite network would not have been broadcast, Bloomberg reports.

The fate of MH370 remains one of the world's greatest aviation mystery.

Debris from the plane has been found washed ashore on African beaches, but the main wreckage was never located despite years of searching.

The deep-water search for the flight was called off earlier this year.

All tracking systems monitor a plane's location using its on-board transmitter.

But it is unclear if the additional tracking ability would have had any impact on the MH370 disappearance.

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