The head of an international airline group wants a new and better way to track passenger aircraft in flight after the disappearance of Flight MH370, saying: "We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish."
Tony Tyler, the director general of the International Air Travel Association, a global industry group, said the long and so far fruitless search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard "has highlighted the need to improve our tracking of aircraft in flight.
"In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief both that an aircraft could simply disappear and that the flight data and cockpit voice recorders are so difficult to recover," Tyler said in a statement released at an IATA conference in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia and the city of departure for Flight 370.
"In our eagerness to move this along, we must also ensure that prudent decisions are made in line with global standards," he said. "I have no doubt that governments are eager to come to a conclusion and take action as soon as possible."
He also urged governments to step up the use of passport databases such as the one operated by Interpol to determine if passports have been stolen. Most countries, including Malaysia, don't run passports through Interpol's computer system, The Associated Press reports.
"Keeping better track of planes became an issue in 2009 after Air France Flight 447 went missing over the Atlantic. Despite quickly finding debris on the surface, searchers spent nearly two years looking for the plane's wreckage and recording devices on the ocean floor.
"Proposals have included tracking each flight by VHF radio over land or satellite over sea, streaming information about every airliner's operation by broadband and installing recorders that eject from planes in an emergency, to float on water and signal for help."