Flightglobal’s operations and safety editor David Learmount has put together a video briefing on the background to the 8 March disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, its passengers and crew. The aircraft type has a superb safety record – as does Malaysia – so what happened?
David has aggregated the key answers to the questions people have about this flight.
How can an aircraft just disappear? Has anything like it happened before? Do we have any clues? Is there a shortlist of likely occurrences? How soon will we know the cause?
Flightglobal's Ascend Online database records that Malaysia Airlines originally ordered the aircraft involved, a Boeing 777-300, in 1996, later changing the variant to the -200ER. The twinjet (9M-MRO) was built in 2002 and bears MSN 28420, line number 404 and is equipped with two Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines.
As of 8 March, the aircraft had accumulated over 53,400h in 7,525 cycles according to the airline. It was configured in a two-class layout with 35 business- and 247 economy-class seats. The carrier says the flight in question had a load factor of 80.4%.