Airlines debate costs of aircraft tracking after Malaysian's loss
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By Siva Govindasamy and Victoria Bryan
DOHA, June 3 (Reuters) - Moves by airlines to keep track of their aircraft in real time following the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370 could push up ticket prices for passengers - but governments should also foot part of the bill, airline industry leaders said on Tuesday.
Senior executives attending the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) annual meeting in Doha this week said they needed to install a tracking system to ensure no more airliners could simply vanish as the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER did in March.
Passengers, however, would have to bear at least some of the cost of automated tracking that is eventually expected to become mandatory.
"This would be an additional cost and would be passed to passengers," Finnair's chief executive Pekka Vauramo told Reuters at the IATA meeting.
"Who is the ultimate beneficiary of the services that the airlines provide? The answer is the passenger," Japan Airlines' chairman, Masaru Onishi, added.
"Along those lines, the airlines need to continue studying this system, especially as it pertains to the cost of not only the widespread introduction but also the sustainability of a system," he said.
IATA, which represents most of the world's airlines, announced last month that it had formed a task force to look at the various options. Continued...