All commercial flights worldwide could soon send out an automated signal every minute in times of distress to help rescuers find downed aircraft easier.
The new measures are in response to last year's disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in what remains one of history's great aviation mysteries.
The aircraft, with 239 people on board, has never been found.
The new tracking rules, which have been prepared by an industry working group, would be phased in by the end of this year, said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations agency.
The ICAO will also ask airlines to equip their aircraft with ejectable black boxes.
The tracking initiative will now be presented to delegates from all 191 ICAO member states at a meeting in Montreal from tomorrow to Thursday.
A "final proposal" will be submitted to the ICAO Council within six months for ratification.
The measure has unanimous support among ICAO member states, a source said , which means it is virtually assured of being introduced.
Currently, radar can track a plane, but coverage fades when aircraft are out at sea or the plane is flying below a certain altitude.
Under the new rules, airlines will be required to track their aircraft using a system that gives their location at 15-minute intervals.
If an "abnormal event" is detected, including a change in direction or deviation from a flight path, the signal rate hastens to every minute.
Airlines would be responsible for sharing the data with authorities in cases of emergencies.
Following a distress signal, authorities and search and rescue teams would be able to zero in on an aircraft within 11km of its last known position.