It uses a constellation of 72 communication satellites operated by U.S. firm Iridium (whose main business is selling satellite phones connected to its network).
According to a press release by Aireon LLC, its forthcoming satellite technology will allow it to track the flight paths of any aircraft around the world, including areas over polar regions and remote oceans.
It is unclear whether the Aireon tracking system, that Malaysia Airlines will now has access to, may have helped in any way in the case of flight MH370. "We are proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution using space-based ADS-B data as part of SITAONAIR's AIRCOM® FlightTracker".
Using a soon-to-be-launched satellite network, the airline will be able to monitor its planes in areas where there is now no surveillance.
SITAONAIR added that no new avionics or modifications are needed to use the service; it will work for all ADS-B Out-equipped aircraft.
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The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 380 (MH 380), and a years-long search for the aircraft, sparked global interest in tracking of commercial flights in oceanic airspace. When the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight vanished in March 2014, the transmitter signal was lost, with some suspicions it was done deliberately.
"With access to up-to-the-minute reporting, Malaysia Airlines will know the location, heading, speed and altitude of all aircraft in its fleet, at all times, and be alerted to any exceptions", Portfolio Director, AIRCOM at SITAONAIR, Paul Gibson, said.
A number of theories have surrounded the mystery of the flight's disappearance, ranging from passenger foul play (two people boarded with stolen passports) to combustible batteries in the cargo hold, and crew involvement.
But when an aircraft passes beyond 240km above the open seas, cockpits switch from the transponders to high-frequency radio equipment to keep in contact with air traffic control stations. The underwater search for the aircraft was suspended in January with no sign of the wreckage of the Boeing 777 found.
The system relies on a plane's location transmitter, but MH370's either malfunctioned or was intentionally turned off.