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
A Japanese Orion aircraft takes off from an Australian airbase during the search for MH 370.   (AP Photo/Greg Wood, Pool)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
May 12, 2014 3:29 PM CDT
What's stopping them from doing it now? They are already getting the data. They just want to be a monopoly by giving away free service now and charge through the nose later.
May 12, 2014 1:32 PM CDT
Great choice for a pic. " ... Track World's Jets ... " with a silhouette of a P-3.
Ezekiel 25:17
May 12, 2014 10:34 AM CDT
So, lets look into this amazing generous offer. First of all, the next generation ATC system is in development right now and it uses Iridium satellites in low orbit. All aircraft, even small planes, will communicate with these satellites and the system will then pass traffic instructions to the pilot and automation equipment. Flight 370 incident can't happen in the future with this system because the pilot will not be able to fully disable it even if they tried. So Inmarsat now comes along and offers to track air traffic like they want a piece of the pie. Sorry, Iridium is a low orbit system that will offer much more reliable tracking of all air traffic in real time.