India Orders Real-Time Plane Tracking After MH370 Tragedy

India ordered its airlines to track planes real-time from takeoff to landing after a Malaysian report on the disappearance of Flight 370 recommended the step.

All aircraft ferrying passengers and cargo should be monitored for an interim period until the International Air Transport Association outlines suggestions for continuous tracking by the end of 2014, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in an e-mailed statement today.

Airlines must use the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast if ACARS is disabled, the DGCA said. In areas beyond either system’s coverage, flight crew must report co-ordinates, speed and altitude at least every 15 minutes, it said.

The hunt for the Malaysian Airline System Bhd.-operated Boeing Co. 777-200ER, which had 239 people on board, is the longest for a missing passenger jet in modern aviation history. The plane’s disappearance on March 8 has baffled authorities after contact was lost less than an hour into a routine trip to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The Indian requirements fall short of the automatic, satellite-based surveillance the world needs, said Mark D. Martin, chief executive officer of Dubai-based Martin Consulting LLC, which advises airlines on strategy. They may also raise airlines’ costs and crew workload and potentially block radio signals, he said.

Share Prices

Shares in SpiceJet Ltd. fell 2.3 percent as of 3:25 p.m. in Mumbai, while Jet Airways India Ltd. dropped 0.8 percent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index declined 0.8 percent.

Malaysia’s April 9 report on the disappearance, which officials sent to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization, includes a recommendation that the body develop standards for real-time aircraft tracking.

India’s airline-safety ranking was downgraded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in January over a shortage of officials to ensure the safe operation of flights, putting the country on a par with Zimbabwe and Indonesia. The lower rating stops Indian carriers from adding new flights to the U.S.

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