MAS: Duo do not have flying experience in search corridors

SEPANG - The captain and the co-pilot of Flight MH370 did not have flying experience in any of the two search corridors, said Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

"We do not fly there at all as a commercial airline. We do not fly to any of the corridors. They (the pilot and co-pilot) have no flight experience there," he said, responding to questions on whether the pilots had flight experience in the northern and southern search corridors.

Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah and first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid have become the primary focus of the investigation into the fate of MH370, with one of the key questions being who was controlling the aircraft when the communications systems were disabled.

Ahmad Jauhari did not rule out that there was a possibility of a malfunction in the Aircraft Com­mu­ni­cations Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), but noted that plane had still maintained satellite communication until 8.11am on the day it went missing.

Ahmad Jauhari confirmed that the last communication from the cockpit was recorded at 1.19am but he could not say precisely when the ACARS system was switched off, which could be between the last transmission at 1.07am and the next due transmission at 1.37am.

He also could not confirm whether ACARS was disabled before the final message, which could indicate that one of the pilots or someone aboard the aircraft was deliberately misleading air traffic control while switching off the ACARS.

Asked to confirm whether the aircraft had been programmed to fly westward, Ahmad Jauhari said that as far as MAS was concerned, it was programmed to fly to Beijing.