Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, is a datalink that lets planes maintain contact with ground stations through radio or satellite signals.
So far, communications satellites have only picked up faint electronic pulses from the flight since it went missing, but the signals have given no indication about where the jet was headed nor its technical condition, a source close to the investigation told the Reuters news agency.
Instead of relying on pilots to format a course intention message to their airline using the ACARS system, it is time to upgrade the specification to do so when the autopilot is commanded. The navigation subsystem ought also periodically relay a position packet as well as notify cockpit door lock operations.
All systems including older planes should get the update unless fitted with a later system.
ACARS will be superseded by the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) protocol for Air Traffic Control communications and by the Internet Protocol for airline communications.
Given that too few nations always cross check passports with the Interpol database of stolen and flagged passports, major airlines ought be allowed to integrate such checks into their check-in processes and systems. Those that always did so, would gain a market advantage as customers would feel safer knowing that.
I just hope that hi-tech brigands have MH370 for crass commercial ransom demands and not a rogue state planing to deliver a WMD onto a city. Hopefully the CIA etc are hard at work collating information and not telling us in case it prejudices any operation to deal with the situation. Remember vast amounts of information, both electronic and photographic are collected all the time but take huge resources, people & time, to go through it all to find the facts of significance…