Satellite Firm: We'll Track World's Jets for Free

Firm's data helped narrow search for MH370

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 12, 2014 3:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – The world will never face another mystery like Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 again, a British satellite firm promises. The airline industry has resisted the use of satellite tracking because of the costs involved but Inmarsat says it will offer a free tracking service to the world's airlines, using GPS to determine a flight's location every 15 minutes, the Independent reports. Pings from Inmarsat equipment helped searchers determine that the missing Malaysia Airlines jet went down in the southern Indian Ocean.

Inmarsat already tracks ships around the world and relays distress calls for free. "Our equipment is on 90% of the world's wide-body jets already. This is an immediate fix for the industry at no cost to the industry," an Inmarsat exec tells the BBC. He says the company will carry the cost of around $3 million a year for the service and will aim to recover it by selling its premium services to airlines. The search area for Flight 370, meanwhile, has been massively expanded and authorities say the search could take up to a year.

A Japanese Orion aircraft takes off from an Australian airbase during the search for MH 370.   (AP Photo/Greg Wood, Pool)
A shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft is seen on low cloud cover while it searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)
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