The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, was both tragic and stunning. The loss of a modern commercial aircraft operating in government- controlled airspace, which remains unexplained, represents an extreme anomaly for the safest mode of transportation available today. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a trade association, during a typical day almost 100,000 airline flights are completed without incident.
Contrary to popular conception, not all commercial aircraft are tracked at all times. In order to assess what can be done to improve global aircraft tracking capabilities and retain the public’s confidence in the airline industry, IATA, with support from the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), established the Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF). Over five months, it brought together senior meexperts from across the aviation industry, including representatives from airlines, air navigation service providers (ANSP), safety organizations, pilot groups, airframe and equipment manufacturers, and civil aviation authorities represented by ICAO.