BEIJING, April 9 – Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is currently drafting a D-day plan, which is subject to approval of the Malaysian and Chinese governments, to make arrangements for the families of passengers on board its vanished MH370, to fly to Perth once the aircraft is found. MAS regional senior vice-president (greater China) Joshua Law Kok Hwa said the airliner was currently in discussion on the necessary arrangements to enable the next-of-kin to collect the relevant information once the plane was found, mode of travel to Perth and hotel accommodation, among others. He said, due to limited hotel rooms in the Australian city, the Chinese next-of-kin needed to re-register or re-verify their identities to MAS staff.
“They need to identify themselves to decide who among them will be part of the team to go to Perth,” he added. Law was speaking to Malaysian reporters after a briefing with Chinese families here on Tuesday. Earlier, MAS offered to fly up to five family members per passenger on board the ill-fated MH370 to the end destination. On visa arrangement, Law said the Australian Embassy would fully cooperate withMAS once the latter was ready to announce the D-day. On another development, MAS plans to inform the Chinese next-of-kin of passengers on board MH370 on the latest development of the missing aircraft, via short message service (SMS).
“The move is aimed at informing the next-of-kin on the latest development, via a true channel, instead of keep them waiting for the latest development. “We have signed up the text message service with a local telco, and we have tested it among ourselves. The SMS will be delivered in Chinese to the closest legal next-of-kin of the affected passengers,” said Law. Currently, he said, there were about 300 contact numbers of the legal next-of-kin on the SMS list. MAS‘ move to send the SMS to inform the Chinese families on the fate of the flight before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the flight path of MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean was criticised by the families as the message was delivered in English, instead of Chinese.
Meanwhile, Law disclosed that over the past 30 days, MAS had assisted about 30 Chinese relatives for medical treatment by sending them to various hospitals. “We provide about 1,000 meals daily for the relatives here in Beijing, and in average, we arrange about 42 MAS caregivers to assist the family members here,” he said. It has been 32 days since the Boeing 777-200ER with 239 passengers and crew on board went missing since departing from the KL International Airport at 12:41am on March 8. It was scheduled to land at the Beijing International Airport at 6.30am on the same day.
– Photo By: AP