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International Aviation Agency Says Aircraft Tracking Is A Priority

An international aviation organization is taking a first step toward implementing a system that would track aircraft globally.

The Globe and Mail reports that after a two-day meeting in Montreal, the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization said that the tracking system would be "pursued as a matter of priority."

The decision comes after the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner in March. Despite an international hunt for the wreckage, the plane has yet to be found.

The paper reports:

"Even once a standard is established, it will be up to member countries to implement and enforce tracking regulations.

" 'Tell the public not to be concerned,' Nancy Graham, director of the ICAO's Air Navigation Bureau, said at a news conference in Montreal. 'Your ride up the escalator to get here' was more dangerous than getting in an airplane, she said.

"Ms. Graham said all parties at the special meeting backed an urgent initiative to develop a global tracking standard. 'The industry is absolutely in solidarity about putting in place global tracking,' she said.

"Although most aircraft flying oceanic routes are already tracked by one of various commercial satellite services, there is no international standard."

Reuters reports that a task force set up by the International Air Transport Association will now "come up with solutions by the end of September for better tracking, and that the industry would start implementing them voluntarily."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.