Inmarsat trials new aircraft tracking system in Australia

The new system will record an aircraft's position every 15 minutes
The new system will record an aircraft’s position every 15 minutes

The Australian aviation industry has teamed up with Inmarsat to trial a new system for tracking commercial aircraft.

The move follows a resolution passed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to adopt a new 15-minute tracking standard for passenger jets. As a result, Inmarsat is working with Airservices Australia, Qantas and Virgin Australia to trial the system, using satellite technology to track transoceanic flights.

The technology will transmit the current position of the aircraft every 15 minutes, as well as plotting the next two positions as programmed into the aircraft’s flight management system.

“This is an important step in improving international airline safety and we are very pleased to be working with Airservices Australia and our industry partners to implement this enhanced flight tracking service,” said Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat.

“We applaud ICAO’s decision to announce the new tracking standard and believe that we are well placed to help implement the standard given our existing global satellite coverage and the time-frame proposed.”

The ICAO resolution was passed in the wake of the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. If that aircraft had been tracked using this method, it would have alerted authorities to the flight’s dramatic change of course, and would have allowed rescue workers to more accurately locate the missing aircraft.

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