IATA Welcomes ICAO Tracking Standard Recommendation

- Montreal, Canada.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Second High Level Safety Conference (HLSC/2) to move towards the adoption of a performance-based standard for global tracking of commercial aircraft, supported by a multi-national evaluation exercise to evaluate impact and guide implementation.

“This will continue the industry’s successful record of working with governments to improve safety through global harmonization. We are all moving in the same direction. The conference conclusions should be a reassurance to all travelers that safety is always aviation’s top priority,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

The essence of the ICAO recommendation is for aircraft to report their position every fifteen minutes during normal operations. This applies only to remote areas which are not covered by surveillance by air traffic services. The IATA-coordinated Aircraft Tracking Task Force noted in its report that tracking over remote and oceanic airspace could be achieved through existing means of reporting and that new space-based technologies may play a key role in future.

The ICAO HLSC/2 recommendation is for an approach that is performance-based, not prescriptive. This means that global airlines would be able to meet it using the available and planned technologies and procedures they deem suitable.

“Many airlines are already tracking their aircraft. We welcome this initiative to implement a performance-based standard that will permit airlines to use new and existing technologies for aircraft tracking. Through a combined effort of all stakeholders we can reach performance-based provisions that are founded on proper research and operational experience. We look forward to working with ICAO in the pursuit of effective and sustainable solutions that do not create unnecessary redundancy nor have unintended impacts on safety,” said Tyler, while supporting ICAO’s proposal for an “Implementation Initiative” to assess current practices and potential improvements by airlines, air navigation service providers and search and rescue.

The ICAO HLSC/2 is being held in Montreal from 2-5 February 2015. IATA presented a working paper on next steps related to global aircraft tracking which aligns with the ICAO HLSC/2 recommendations. All working papers are in the public domain.

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