Malaysia Airlines signs up for global plane-tracking satellite service

Of course it's not happening overnight: the network is due to be completed in 2018.

Izham Ismail The deal follows the disappearance and search for flight MH370, which had 239 people aboard and is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. The plane remains missing to this day.

"The new technology has been enhanced to cover remote areas or to airspace which were not accessible before and real-time [position] aircraft tracking".

Aireon's space-based ADS-B system will offer a global solution that works for all ADS-B Out equipped aircraft everywhere. According to Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer Izham Ismail, "Real-time global aircraft tracking has always been a goal of the aviation community".

Malaysia Airlines will be the first SITAONAIR airline customer to benefit from a revolutionary flight tracking partnership between SITAONAIR, Aireon and FlightAware.

The airline has enlisted air traffic surveillance company Aireon, as well as flight tracking and telecommunications firms FlightAware and SITAOnAir, to monitor its aircraft in real time. It is a subsidiary of Iridium Satellite LLC.

Most worldwide flights are already transmitting their position with technology known as ADS-B and the signals can be tracked from the ground or space.

The current fleet of planes will be able to use the system without new modifications. All of its aircrafts will have 100 percent minute-by-minute access to Aireon's tracking data. But now, just over three years later, the stricken airline has become the first in the world to track its fleet via satellite.

It's unclear whether this new system would have prevented MH370's disappearance, however.

The system relies on a plane's location transmitter, but MH370's either malfunctioned or was intentionally turned off.

The flag carrier of Malaysia figured in two of the worst aviation disasters in history.

France's BEA air crash investigation agency said it was examining the debris, in coordination with Malaysian and Australian authorities, to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished past year in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

Usually, planes are tracked via onboard transponders which could be tracked via radar.

Vanessa Coleman