Following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 almost a year ago, a new method of tracking planes will be trialled by Australian airlines before being rolled out in Indonesia and Malaysia for further testing. Australian authorities confirmed this week that aircraft departing from Brisbane will be used initially for the trial.
The current system in place worldwide means planes can only be traced every 30 to 40 minutes, however this will increase to every fifteen minutes with real-time tracking, which is installed on the majority of long haul flights already.
Should a plane deviate from its original course, the transponder could increase its frequency, being traced every five minutes, and giving air traffic controllers a greater idea of its flight path. However the new system doesn’t come without its limitations: experts warn pilots may be forced to switch off their transponders in case of in-flight fires and other emergencies.
No trace of the Malaysia Airlines plane has ever been found, despite investigators focusing on an area of the Indian Ocean off the west coats of Australia.
The Australian transport minister Warren Truss believes that this new technology would see air traffic control able to respond more rapidly should an aircraft experience difficulty or deviation from its flight plane, giving reassurance to thousands of long haul passengers.