Following the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in early 2014, the International Telecommunications Union made it a priority that its next World Radiocommunication Conference would address spectrum requirements regarding global flight tracking for civilian aviation.
Led by Canada, several member nations took part in developing an approach that uses an existing system used by aircraft, called Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast. This new approach allows satellites too to receive ADS-B transmissions, and relay them from airliners over oceans and other remote areas.
The U.S., Canada and other countries in the Americas have been working with the International Civil Aviation Organization to implement this approach. Negotiations with other countries at WRC-15 now have to adoption of the measure.
Ambassador Decker Anstrom, head of the U.S. Delegation at WRC-15, issued a statement celebrating the news: “The WRC’s action today will enable better tracking and location of aircraft that otherwise could disappear from terrestrial tracking systems. This is an excellent example of the ability of nations, working through the ITU process, to take action in improving peoples’ lives.” Anstrom specifically recognized ITU officials, including Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and Radiocommuncation Bureau Director Francois Rancy.
WRC-15 is taking place most of this month in Geneva.The WRC is an inter-governmental treaty conference held every four years by the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations specialized organization for telecommunications.Delegates are attending from 165 countries to revise and update the world’s radio regulationsthat governs the allocation and use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbital locations.