KUALA LUMPUR - Following is the statement by Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Airlines on Flight MH370.
55 days since Malaysia Airlines' flight MH370's disappearance on 8 March 2014, a multi-nation search is still ongoing for the missing aircraft, its passengers and crew.
This enormous search mission was carried out with the support from more than 20 states, firstly in the South China Sea, in the Malacca Straits, and on land along the Northern Corridor, and since mid-March when specialised assets were deployed in the air, on the sea and underwater in the southern Indian Ocean, where top experts concluded the aircraft's last known position was.
Despite such an intensified search operations, probably the largest one in human history, we have to face the hard reality that there is still no trace of the aircraft, and the fate of the missing passengers and crew remains unknown till this day.
Malaysia Airlines is acutely conscious of, and deeply sympathetic to the continuing unimaginable anguish, distress and hardship suffered by those with loved ones on board the flight.
We share the same very feelings and have been doing whatever we can to ease the pain of the families and to provide comfort for them.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia has announced early this week that the search operation in the southern Indian Ocean will be moving to a new phase in the coming weeks, and it is certainly not ending.
In this new phase, the Malaysian Government, working together with Australia and Chinese governments, other international partners and specialised companies, plans to intensify the undersea search by deploying more technologically advanced assets in the search zone.
The Malaysian Government recently announced its decision to establish an international investigation team led by Malaysia. The members will include accredited representatives from the US, UK, Australia, China, France and Singapore. Also included are representatives from relevant international organisations and the civil aviation industry.
This investigation is an independent process in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices. Malaysia Airlines commits itself to fully support this independent investigation and provide full information and assistance as required.
From past experience, we understand the continuing search and investigation would be a prolonged process. While Malaysia Airlines is committed to continuing its support to the families during the whole process, we are adjusting the mode of services and support.
Instead of staying in hotels, the families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends.
In line with this adjustment, Malaysia Airlines will be closing all of its Family Assistance Centres around the world by 7 May 2014.
Malaysia Airlines will keep in close touch with the families on news updates through telephone calls, messages, the Internet, and face-to-face meetings. With the support of the Malaysian Government, the airline's Family Support Centres will be established in Kuala Lumpur and in Beijing. The detailed plan of follow-up support and services will be informed in person to the families.
Malaysia Airlines will make advanced compensation payments soonest possible to the nominated next-of-kin who are entitled to claim compensation, in order to meet their immediate economic needs.
Such advanced payments will not affect the rights of the next-of-kin to claim compensation according to the law at a later stage, and will be calculated as part of the final compensation.
Immediately after the next-of-kin have returned home, our representatives will be in touch with them at the earliest opportunity to initiate the advanced compensation payment process.
At this very difficult time, we wish to once again thank everyone for their understanding and support, especially from the families of the passengers and crew on board.
Malaysia Airlines' thoughts and prayers remain with the families of all those onboard MH370.