Australia, China and Malaysia will suspend the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after it has combed the 120,000km² search area.
In a joint statement by the Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre, transport ministers from the three countries reiterated that the search for the Boeing 777-200ER will resume “should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft”.
“The suspension does not mean the termination of the search. Ministers reiterated that the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned,” it adds.
More than 110,000km² of the search area have been already covered but “the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading”, states the co-ordination centre.
To date, the search has yielded several parts, including an outboard wing flap which is being investigated to ascertain if it came from a Malaysia Airlines 777, as well as an engine cowling segment and a part of a door assembly.
“While acknowledging the significance of the debris, [ministers of the three countries noted that] none of it had provided information that positively identified the precise location of the aircraft,” says the centre.