Flight MH370
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The Star Online

Real-time flight tracking can save lives, says Malaysian transport chief

Liow Tiong Lai also calls for countries to cooperate on setting up mechanisms

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 12:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 12:16pm

By Rahimy Rahim

The implementation of mandatory real-time global tracking of commercial flights is important as it can save lives, said Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

Malaysia, Liow said, had actively taken part in various task forces, with one resulting in the implementation of the initiatives.

“These initiatives are not optional. They save lives but we cannot stop there,” he said in his opening address at the 25th Avsec (Aviation Security) World Conference.

The issue of having mandatory real-time tracking of commercial flights gained urgency after the disappearance of Flight MH370.

It was also crucial for nations and agencies to work together to implement effective me­­cha­­nisms that could curb the rise of terrorism and cyber threats, Liow said.

“For Malaysia, we have put in place a security management system approach within our National Civil Aviation Security Committee. At the same time, we are working closely with all relevant agencies such as the Home Ministry,” he added.

Later, Liow told reporters it was important for all stakeholders to share information, especially to counter terrorism threats.

“If we can work together, including with the Airports Council International, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), we can share the right information with all the member states.

“If ICAO can give reliable information to all airlines, perhaps it can prevent any terrorism or attack at our airports,” he said.

He also urged ICAO to play a key role in providing information to airlines involving routes in conflict zones.

“We want all aircraft to know whether it is safe to travel along that route (in conflict zones). We want ICAO to take the lead to ensure that airlines receive the right information all the time.”

Air passenger traffic had doubled from a decade ago, said Liow, adding that growth was expected to steadily continue over the next few years.

“In fact, studies by IATA show that air transport in the country is expected to create one million job opportunities by 2035, contribu­ting an estimated US$26bil (RM108.38bil) to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.”

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