27 Mar 2014

Call for automatic download of flight info

2:28 pm on 27 March 2014

An aviation lawyer says the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane proves airlines should be forced to stream flight information directly from their planes to ground bases.

The former director-general of the United States Department of Transporation, Mary Schiavo, says there have been calls for airliners to automatically transmit flight data and audio from the cockpit since the 11 September attacks on New York in 2001.

Mary Schiavo.

Mary Schiavo. Photo: AFP

She says that's because some flight recorders from planes were destroyed in the attacks.

But Ms Schiavo told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme airlines objected to the extra expense and pilot unions objected to the privacy intrusion.

She says if those changes had gone ahead it would be simple to discover what happened to the missing plane.

"People should clamour for that for their own safety and for the safety of everybody out there flying."