DUBAI, March 30 – Malaysia believes that the information and communications technology (ICT) can play an even bigger role in the aviation industry, in the wake of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370. In this context, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said locating and searching for the black box, for example, should be a thing of the past, especially with the advent of big data and cloud computing.
“I believe that data from aircraft, including from the black box, could be continuously transmitted and stored in data centres on ground. We should be able to retrieve and analyse this data without necessarily locating the black box. “I believe that this simple change may have brought a different outcome (in the field of aviation) today,” he said in a policy statement at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) 2014 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Sunday.
To this end, he urged the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to work with the aviation industry to enable constant monitoring of flight data and what was happening in the cockpit. ITU’s sixth WTDC, held on Sunday until April 10, aimed to establish work programmes and guidelines for defining telecommunication development questions and priorities and to provide direction and guidance for the work programme of the Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) over the next four-year period.
Ahmad Shabery acknowledged the 25 nations that have come to Malaysia’s aid, without question, and the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to search for the missing aircraft. “In the search and rescue operation for Flight MH370, Malaysia has had at our disposal, thanks to the generosity of our friends, the most sophisticated of equipment, satellites, sonar and radar technology, and state-of-the-art tracking capabilities, among others. “As well as an entire team of experts in various fields, from multiple international organisations. This has made us feel closer to all of you,” he said.
Ahmad Shabery conveyed the country’s heartfelt sympathies to the delegation of the People’s Republic of China, and the other 13 delegations who shared sadness and sorrow of having passengers and crew on board that flight. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day. A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors – the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Flight MH370 that it “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.