Singapore carriers must track flights at least every 15 minutes from July 1: CAAS

A SilkAir (right) and a Singapore Airlines (SIA) plane at the Changi Airport.
A SilkAir (right) and a Singapore Airlines (SIA) plane at the Changi Airport. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - New flight tracking rules will be imposed on Singapore carriers from July 1, in a move by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to enhance air safety.

The new rules will apply to passenger carriers operating aircraft of more than 27,000kg and carrying more than 19 passengers, as well as cargo aircraft of more than 45,500kg.

This includes Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Tigerair, Scoot, Jetstar Asia and SIA Cargo.

They will have to ensure that their planes are tracked at least every 15 minutes, throughout the entire duration of the flight.

From July 1, airlines will be required to track their aircraft either manually or automatically. From Nov 8, 2018, only automatic tracking will be permitted, CAAS said.

The move is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) plans to require a 15-minute standard for normal flight tracking by November.

CAAS director-general Kevin Shum said: "The safety of the travelling public is always our priority. CAAS has worked closely with the industry to advance the implementation of the latest rules on enhanced aircraft tracking. When fully implemented, our airlines will have added assurance of the whereabouts and safety of their aircraft operations throughout their network."

SIA's acting senior vice-president flight operations, Captain C.E. Quay, said: "We are supportive of the efforts to improve flight tracking capabilities. Singapore Airlines is already in compliance with CAAS' new rules, as we have enhanced flight tracking capabilities that give us detailed oversight of our global flight operations."

Managing director and chief operating officer of Tigerair Ho Yuen Sang added: "We have been working closely with CAAS in order to achieve the highest level of surveillance and tracking for our aircraft. We are confident that these industry-leading regulations represent a significant step forward in aviation safety which is our top priority."