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Malaysia Airlines Tells Families to Go Home as First Payouts Begin

May 01, 2014 2:00 pm

Skift Take

There’s little that the families of the missing passengers can do at this point but wait. However, Malaysia Air needs a transparent system that keeps them up-to-date despite the families’ lack of involvement in the actual search.

— Samantha Shankman

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Reuters

Family members of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 gather during a sit-in protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, April 25, 2014. The sign in white reads, "We want the truth". Reuters


Malaysian Airline System Bhd. will make advance payments to the next of kin of those on board flight MH370 after a 55-day multination search failed to find the missing plane.

The payouts won’t affect the rights of families to claim compensation according to the law at a later stage, and will be calculated as part of the final sum, the airline said in an e- mailed statement. It didn’t say how much would be disbursed.

The hunt for the Boeing Co. 777 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board is the longest for a missing passenger jet in modern aviation history. The wide-body’s disappearance has baffled authorities because contact was lost less than an hour into a routine trip to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. No debris has been found so far.

Malaysian Air said that while it’s committed to continuing to help families, it is “adjusting the mode of services and support,” closing assistance centers around the world by May 7.

Instead of staying in hotels, the families of those on board were also advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation, together with other support, at their homes, today’s statement said.

Malaysia has set up a team to probe the disappearance that will consist of three groups with specific focus areas, not including criminal investigation.

The jetliner vanished from civilian radars while headed north over the Gulf of Thailand, then doubled back and flew over Peninsular Malaysia and on into the remote waters of the Indian Ocean.

While the motive behind that heading remains unknown, MH370 was deliberately steered south, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said. There are no indications of any survivors, the airline has said previously.

To contact the reporters on this story: Manirajan Ramasamy in Kuala Lumpur at rmanirajan@bloomberg.net; Shamim Adam in Singapore at sadam2@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at anandk@bloomberg.net Christopher Jasper.

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