The ICAO Council adopted new provisions aimed at preventing the loss of commercial aircraft experiencing distress in remote locations.
ICAO announced new amendments to Annex 6 to the Chicago Convention (Operation of Aircraft) which will take effect between now and 2021. They relate primarily to:
- The requirement for aircraft to carry autonomous distress tracking devices which can autonomously transmit location information at least once every minute in distress circumstances.
- The requirement for aircraft to be equipped with a means to have flight recorder data recovered and made available in a timely manner.
- Extending the duration of cockpit voice recordings to 25 hours so that they cover all phases of flight for all types of operations.
The provisions relating to one-minute distress tracking are performance-based, meaning that airlines and aircraft manufacturers may consider all available and emerging technologies which can deliver the one-minute location tracking requirement specified.
The new flight recorder data recovery provisions are also performance-based, meaning that related technology solutions may or may not entail the need for deployable flight recorders.
On March 8, 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing over the Indian Ocean, triggering an industry-wide effort for a.o. better flight-following in remote areas.