Aircraft Tracking Experts Look at Big-Data Monitoring
Last week’s conference on aircraft tracking in Kuala Lumpur came just two months after the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia requested help to determine the best methods for watching commercial aircraft in real time following the March 8 disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The preliminary report on the accident, issued last month, recommended that the International Civil Aviation Organization examine the safety benefits of introducing a standard for real-time tracking of commercial aircraft. Requirements and concerns from the flight deck were also taken into account. According to Malaysian communications minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek, the Indian government has already issued a circular instructing airlines under its jurisdiction to track all aircraft in real time even though no international standard currently exists. “The challenge is to bring the capabilities of rapidly advancing telecommunication to the aviation sector in a coherent and coordinated manner,” said Malcolm Johnson, director of the International Telecommunications Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. One option now being considered in this regard is the use of cloud and big-data solutions. Nancy Graham, director of ICAO’s Air Navigation Bureau, said an aircraft tracking task force will address the near-term needs for flight tracking and, in partnership with ICAO, will develop best-practice guidance material, based on available flight-tracking technology. Pending the outcome of this work, airlines will be encouraged to use existing equipment and procedures to support flight tracking.