The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday announced rule changes that are to require Taiwanese carriers traveling over oceans to report their position every 15 minutes under certain conditions — a requirement prompted by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, 2014.
The revised Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations (航空器飛航作業管理規則) stipulate that, beginning on Nov. 8, all aircraft with a takeoff mass of 45,500kg or more that fly oceanic routes must apply aircraft tracking every 15 minutes, compared with the present 60-minute interval, the CAA said.
The new rule would make it possible for airlines to more closely track the latitude, longitude and altitude of their aircraft, CAA Flight Standards Division director Clark Lin (林俊良) said.
Carriers must also ensure that the position of an aircraft can be determined at least once every minute when in distress, such as when there is smoke in the cabin or engine failure, Lin said.
The amendment is in line with the Global Aircraft Tracking Initiatives adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines flight’s disappearance after it took off from Kuala Lumpur.
The ICAO has been tightening global aviation standards since the disaster, when the aircraft went missing less than an hour after takeoff, Lin said.
Another Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations safety measure, which took effect on Jan. 1, requires aircraft to upgrade their safety operations.
Aircraft with a seating capacity of more than 19 and a takeoff mass of 27,000kg or more that are to operate across 400 nautical miles (740.8km) or more of ocean, have to install a locator beacon that works underwater.
The beacon, which would be fixed on the main body of the aircraft, would complement a traditional flight recorder, which is often located at the tail of an aircraft, Lin said, adding that should an aircraft break apart in an accident, the beacon would increase the chances of finding it.
However, there is a grace period for airlines to complete the modification, because they have to ask the aircraft manufacturers to help them do it, he said.
China Airlines and EVA Airways, Taiwan’s two major carriers, said they would follow all safety enhancements required by aviation authorities.
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