Singapore plans 'real-time' aircraft tracking system

Singapore said Thursday it will introduce a new aircraft tracking system that will ensure complete surveillance of its airspace, amid global efforts to prevent a repeat of Flight MH370's inexplicable disappearance.

The automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system will be deployed in the city-state's airspace and uses satellites to monitor all flights in real-time, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a joint statement with US-partner Aireon LLC.

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing has prompted an industry-wide rethink of the way planes are tracked.

The , with 239 people on board, has never been found and is ones of aviation's greatest mysteries.

On Wednesday, an international aviation summit in Montreal gave strong backing to plans to monitor flights in distress in real-time, making it easier to pinpoint the location of planes lost at sea.

Under the new rules, airlines will also be required to track their aircraft using a system that gives its location at 15-minute intervals.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council is expected to ratify the proposal in November, making it obligatory for all from 2016.

At the moment, the radars that track planes give spotty coverage that fades when an aircraft is far out or flying below a certain altitude.

"Currently, some parts of the Singapore flight information region are not under coverage, such as remote areas and over the oceans," said the joint statement by CAAS and Aireon LLC.

"With the deployment of this space-based ADS-B service, the real-time positions and en-route status information of all ADS-B equipped aircraft flying within the Singapore flight information region can be tracked."

Singapore Airlines said separately on Monday it was working with SITA, a company that specialises in air transport communications, on trials related to aircraft tracking but would not give further details.

© 2015 AFP

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