Company offers satellite tracking free to help search for missing planes

Aireon LLC, a provider of satellite-based aircraft monitoring, said on Monday it will offer its tracking data for free to help authorities search for future missing planes.

The system will go live in 2017, when its parent company Iridium Communications Inc finishes installing 66 next-generation satellites plus spares that will provide real-time data to air traffic control centers.

While Aireon’s system might not have prevented the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished from radar on March 8 and is presumed to have crashed, killing 239 people, it could have vastly improved the search.