Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is bracing for a long and complex investigation into the disappearance of flight MH370 on 8 March.
“This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response,” said the airline’s chairman Mohammed Nor Yusof. “The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8th.”
Yusof made the comments at a press conference held by the airline the day after Malaysia’ prime minister Najib Razak announced that investigations of satellite tracks had concluded that the missing Boeing 777-200ER was lost over the southern Indian Ocean.
Chief executive of the airline Ahmad Jauhari Yahya added that the airline is focusing on providing care for the families of the 239 passengers and crew that were onboard MH370. The airline is planning to provide additional financial assistance to families on top of the $5,000 per passenger to the next of kin, on top of other assistance.
When asked if he would resign from the airline, Ahmad said that was “a personal decision” and would only be taken at a later time.
Search efforts planned for 25 March have been called off due to rough seas and poor weather in the search area. Only the day before, multiple aircraft involved in the search spotted objects in the water that may be linked to the missing aircraft.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, says that it intends to resume for signs of the aircraft "once weather conditions improve in the search area."
Prior to the MAS press conference, Australia’s vice chief of defence force, AM Mark Binskin said at a press conference in Perth that a second ship, Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield, has been dispatched from Sydney to join the sea search, although it is expected to take some days to reach the area.
The 777, registered as 9M-MRO, went missing from civilian radar while operating a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of 8 March while transiting over the South China Sea. Military radar and satellite data has since shown that the aircraft turned west and headed in a southerly direction towards the Indian Ocean.