CAA to implement tighter tracking standard for Taiwanese airlines

TAIPEI (CNA) – Certain international flights operated by Taiwanese carriers will have to report their aircraft’s positions every 15 minutes starting next February to meet the global standard, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said Friday.

The new rule under the Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations will require an aircraft-tracking time interval of under 15 minutes for airplanes with a seating capacity greater than 19, said Clark Lin (林俊良), director of the CAA’s Flight Standards Division.

The current standard applied by the CAA is for an aircraft to report its position within every 60 minutes.

The new interval will also be required of all aircraft with a take-off mass of 45,500 kilograms when flying over oceanic areas.

“It means that trans-oceanic flights will be affected because they are not covered by ground radar,” Lin said.

The new rule is aligned with the Standards and Recommended Practices adopted by the ICAO council back in November 2015 in the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 the previous year.

It took Taiwan a significant amount of time to learn about the details of the ICAO standard, which will be applicable on Nov. 8, 2018 worldwide, because Taiwan is not a member of the organization, Lin said.

To achieve more real-time location tracking, Taiwan’s China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways (EVA) and local private jet owners will have to change their onboard parameter settings for their aircraft communications addressing and reporting system, according to Lin.

The system transmits short messages between aircraft and ground stations via radio or satellite and has been in use since 1978.

Violators will be fined between NT,000 (US,862) and NT.6 million, he said.

Lin told CNA that in the future, the CAA plans to require another group of flights to autonomously transmit information from which a position can be determined every minute if an aircraft is in distress, including engine failure and a malfunction of a major system.

The rule, which was adopted by ICAO members in March 2016, will be applicable to planes with a take-off mass greater than 27,000 kg from January 1, 2021. 

By Lee Hsin-Yin