The International Civil Aviation Organization Council adopted a new tracking standard for certain international flights that requires crews to report their aircraft’s positions at least every 15 minutes. It will become effective in March 2016 and applicable Nov. 8, 2018. The new requirement also will be formalized as Amendment 39 to Annex 6—Operation of Aircraft, Part I.
Only commercial aircraft, including those flown by on-demand air charter operators, with an mtow of more than 59,000 pounds and a passenger seating capacity of more than 19 are affected by the rule. Also, the requirement applies to over oceanic and other remote areas, and where air traffic service is obtaining position information greater than 15-minute intervals. The organization considers this requirement a first step toward implementation of a more comprehensive three-tiered approach to tracking normal, abnormal and distress conditions.
The new standard is the outcome of recommendations stemming from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, on March 8, 2014. That event triggered a global search that is ongoing. Before Flight MH370, Air France Flight 477 from Brazil to France was lost in the Atlantic Ocean and the aircraft’s flight data recorders were recovered only after a two-year search.