Long haul Airbus planes will soon be fitted with ejectable black boxes that use airbags to float and a beacon to alert emergency services to their whereabouts. The company is currently modifying its aircraft to carry them.
Black boxes contain operational information and recordings of the pilots, and experts say they help to explain 90% of air accidents.
The technology has been used in military planes for a while but had not been deemed necessary in civil aviation because most crashes were thought to take place upon take-off or landing, making recovery straightforward.
However, a recent spate of crashes above the sea has prompted Airbus to act.
The box from an Air France jet that went down in the Atlantic in 2009 took two years to find, and the search is still underway for the black box from a Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared above the Indian Ocean last year.