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Firm will track planes by satellite after Malaysia jet lost

Inmarsat to provide free satellite tracking service for airlines in the wake of MH370 going missing
British telecom company that helped track route of missing MH370 said it will offer free airline tracking

Inmarsat, the British telecommunications company that helped track the route of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, said it will offer a free global airline tracking service over its satellite network.

The company made the announcement in advance of the conference on aircraft-tracking being hosted Monday by the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal.

Inmarsat said in a statement that the service will be open to “virtually 100% of the world’s long haul commercial fleet.” About 11,000 commercial aircraft are already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection.

"In the wake of the loss of MH370, we believe this is simply the right thing to do," Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said. “This offer responsibly, quickly and at little or no cost to the industry, addresses in part the problem brought to light by the recent tragic events around MH370.”

The Malaysia Boeing 777 is still missing after it was mysteriously diverted from its Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing flight path on March 8. Searchers initially concentrated on waters west of Malaysia, where the flight originated.

But data signals from the plane were registered on Inmarsat’s satellite network and were good enough to construct a highly accurate track on its flight path that turned the search south – off the coast of Australia.

Inmarsat said it will also offer a “black box in the cloud” service, which would stream off flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder information to aviation safety recipients should an unplanned event occur.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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