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2 May, 2014

Aviation industry to meet in KL to plan real-time flight data monitoring standards

Geneva, 01 May 2014 – (ITU media release) Following a call from Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Malaysian Minister for Communications and Multimedia, ITU and the Government of Malaysia will organize an Expert Dialogue on Real-time Monitoring of Flight Data, including the Black Box – the need for international Standards in the Age of Cloud Computing and Big Data, 26-27 May 2014, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The impetus for the event, to be hosted by the Malaysian government, is the complex investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which departed Kuala Lumpur, 8 March 2014.

The difficulties surrounding the search for the aircraft has highlighted the need to improve the identification and tracking of commercial aircraft in flight.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are instrumental to the safe and efficient operation of tens of thousands of flights each day. Modern technology solutions could aid in monitoring the location of aircraft, thereby improving the efficiency with which authorities launch rescue efforts in emergency situations, for instance, by leveraging cloud computing and big data analytics.

On-going discussion, at various levels and on a range of platforms, is considering the feasibility of streaming flight data from aircraft to the ground in real-time. Subjects debated within this discussion include the geographical coverage of proposed monitoring systems; the type of data to be transmitted to the ground and the required transmission rates; data security, storage and analytics; ownership of flight data; and the costs and changes to business models required to implement such systems on a global scale.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by the deeply troubling disappearance of flight MH370,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “As the multi-nation search for the missing aircraft continues, we must undertake immediate steps at the international level to increase efficiency in the tracking of aircraft. This event will serve to accelerate on-going efforts to achieve consensus on real-time tracking solutions for the aviation industry.”

Mr Cheek said: “Malaysia wishes to contribute towards this international effort to find solutions to track commercial aircraft in real-time and we are confident that this will ultimately result in a concrete outcome. We are still searching for MH370 more than seven weeks after the disappearance of the aircraft. This work may not help us locate our aircraft or its black boxes; but we hope that with these measures, no other country, people or family will ever have to go through what we are now enduring.”

Government and industry agree that the way forward should be to find technological solutions based on international standards.

In order to take stock of proposed technology solutions as well as the challenges and barriers to their global adoption, and to move this discussion forward, Malaysia’s Ministry of Communications and Multimedia is hosting the invitation-only meeting 26-27 May 2014 at The Royale Chulan, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The opening session and press conference will be webcast.

Invitees will include representatives from ICT solution providers, airlines, international organizations, satellite and avionics companies, terrestrial solution providers and governments.

This first meeting of experts is expected to draw up a roadmap that will chart the way forward in terms of coordination with the various stakeholders to seek ICT solutions for the real-time tracking of flight data.