MONTRÉAL, 14 May 2014 – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), upon the completion of this Special Meeting on Global Flight Tracking of Aircraft, forged consensus among its Member States and the international air transport industry sector on the near-term priority to track airline flights, no matter their global location or destination. Furthermore, the meeting established a framework for future efforts in this regard for the medium- and long-term.
Under the ICAO framework, contributions by industry through an Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) coordinated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will help address the near-term needs for flight tracking.
“Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been an unprecedented event for aviation and we have responded here in a similarly unprecedented manner,” commented ICAO Council President Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “While our flight safety work logically focuses the majority of our energy and resources on accident prevention, everyone in our sector also deeply sympathizes with the families of this lost aircraft’s passengers and crew.”
In parallel with IATA’s Task Force work, ICAO will begin developing a flight tracking concept of operations covering how the new tracking data gets shared, with whom, and under what circumstances. The UN aviation organization will also begin considering performance-based international Standards, on a priority basis, to ensure broader adoption of airline flight tracking throughout the aviation system.
The meeting also recognized the challenges faced by States when coordinating their search and rescue (SAR) efforts across national and regional areas of responsibility, stressing the usefulness of regularly run practice exercises to identify procedural or operational gaps. The strong levels of international cooperation and resource sharing on the MH370 SAR efforts demonstrated to date were also recognized.
“Cooperation is the key to everything we achieve in global air transport,” stressed Aliu as he completed his introduction to the meeting’s concluding press conference. “This has been true since the first States came together and signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation seven decades ago in 1944, and it will remain true as we begin to address the doubling of traffic volumes projected for 2030.”