Air France-KLM supports and is represented in the "Aircraft Tracking" working group, initiated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and intends to be a driving force behind this project.
Under the control of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), this working group aims to provide long-term standardized solutions among governments for the monitoring in real time of the flight paths of commercial passenger and cargo aircraft.
Air France-KLM is currently leader in the field of reporting its aircraft position in flight, thanks to the development of several initiatives in this field. Since 2009, Air France has implemented a particularly efficient aircraft traceability system.
The exact position of the aircraft is transmitted every ten minutes to the Air France Operations Control Centre (20 minutes on average in the airline industry). In the event of an abnormal deviation from the originally intended flight path, the automatic reporting interval of the position is reduced from ten minutes to one minute. KLM has just decided to make changes to its automatic position reporting system in the same way as Air France.
Furthermore, as recommended by the French Air Accident Investigations Bureau (BEA) for the Safety of Civil Aviation, the Air France fleet is now equipped with ULB-type (underwater locator beacon) flight recorders (more commonly known as “black boxes”) with 90 days autonomy (instead of 30 days as stipulated in the regulations) during which the aircraft can be located at any time anywhere in the world in case of immersion.
The Group is also exploring the possibility of equipping its aircraft with an even more suitable transmitter, which would emit at a more easily identifiable frequency when immersed.
Finally, Air France-KLM is showing interest for a proposal by the telecommunications company INMARSAT which is currently under study. This envisages the possibility of ensuring more frequently (every fifteen minutes) correct communications between the aircraft and the company’s satellite communications network.
"By supporting the ICAO’s and IATA’s initiatives regarding Aircraft Tracking, we intend to emphasize the need to establish a common stance across the airline industry on the real-time tracking of aircraft flight paths. The measures we have already implemented in this field are efficient and easy to apply. I hope that the entire industry will join us in our commitment to make progress on this important issue for aviation safety" declared Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM.