Three countries are heading an effort to track planes at shorter intervals to avoid another case of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared nearly a year ago. Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia are deploying a trial system that would track planes every 15 minutes instead of the current standard of 30- to 40 minutes, the BBC reported.
Still, if the trial system is successful and had been in place last year, there's no guarantee it would have led to the location of MH370, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss cautioned. "It would have been very difficult, one would imagine, without knowing what precisely occurred in the case of MH370, to have intervened from outside," he said. "But at least it would have tracked the aircraft to within 15 minutes."
The trial system is set to start in Brisbane, Australia, before expanding to Malaysia and Indonesia, the BBC said. The technology used by the system is already in place on planes that make long-haul flights.
If a plane diverts from its planned course, the system would increase tracking from every 15 minutes to every five minutes, the BBC reported. That’s what happened with MH370, which departed Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Beijing March 8 and lost contact with air traffic control about an hour into the flight. After it lost contact with air traffic control, it turned east instead of continuing north to Beijing. It then lost contact with military radar about two hours into the flight. Despite a year of searches centered in the southern Indian Ocean, the plane has not been found.
Meanwhile, Australian authorities said it may soon be time to abandon the search for the doomed flight. "We clearly cannot keep searching forever, but we want to do everything that's reasonably possible to locate the aircraft,” Truss told Reuters.
The search for MH370, which is estimated to cost $70 million, is the most expensive in history.