BEIJING — China will use its homegrown Beidou satellite navigation system (BDS) to track civil flights, in an attempt to avoid disasters like the Malaysian MH 370.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the BDS will be tested on general aviation first before it is used to monitor passenger or cargo flights.
The BDS, which boasts navigation, positioning and short message services, is able to trace aircraft and aid search and rescue operations.
“We will first collect data and gather experience in general aviation and then gradually apply the BDS to transport aviation,” said Wu Chengchang, safety chief of the CAAC at a recent seminar on BDS application in civil aviation.
China launched the first BDS satellite in 2000 to provide an alternative to foreign navigation systems. The country aimed to launch a total of 35 such orbiters and complete the global network by 2020.
The BDS services currently cover the Asia Pacific and will be expanded to the whole globe by its completion.