Following several recent high profile accidents where downed aircraft could not be efficiently located, or at all, the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) recommendations were adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in March 2016.
The GADSS concept of operations is to provide autonomous global, end-to-end tracking of commercial flights so that an aircraft is never “lost.” It focuses on the detection of aircraft in distress anywhere in the world. It supports accurate tracking throughout the flight so the search and rescue (SAR) procedure can be initiated, if required, and rescuers directed to the correct location. This process enables more efficient SAR operations as well as timely retrieval of the flight data recorder (FDR).
To make aircraft flight safer, ICAO has identified tracking components and technologies for three operation phases:
The aircraft tracking function under normal operations was applicable on November 8, 2018.
As of January 1, 2021, all three standards of GADSS will apply to all new-built aircraft with take-off weight greater than 27,000 kg. Other new aircraft with take-off weight greater than 5,700 kg are also recommended to comply with the GADSS requirement from the same date.