Thursday, January 8, 2015

Qatar pushes for live aircraft data streaming

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the carrier is trialing the use of constant data uploads from flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, aka black boxes, of its aircraft.

Speaking at the recent customer launch of the first Airbus A350, Al Baker said, “We want to … introduce full-time black box data uploads across all our aircraft,” he said, adding that the airline’s management was convinced it should be a mandatory technology across all IATA-compliant carriers.

Al Baker said that as part of its commitment to the principle, the airline had started testing such a system supplied by a leading provider. The technology uses data streaming to allow black box data to be transmitted continuously to a remote monitoring center. 

Al Baker said Qatar wants to be the first airline to introduce full-time, pilot-independent aircraft systems monitoring and reporting across its fleet, and would also be pushing for industry-wide support through its role as an IATA board member. 

“IATA should be leading the move to introduce [aircraft] tracking that is [independent of] any pilot input,” he said.

IATA set up an Aircraft Tracking Tack Force (ATTF) following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 in March. In December, the ATTF issued a report with non-mandatory recommendations to improve continuous tracking of airliners.

Al Baker added that no airline could “guarantee there would be no safety issues” on all of its aircraft all of the time, but that training and preparedness to “the highest standards to avoid getting in to trouble” were the most effective approaches to potential safety issues.

(Jeremy Torr - ATWOnline News)

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