Malaysia Airlines Retires MH370 Code, Now Part of History; US Experts Believe ‘Manual Intervention’ Deliberately Took Place in Missing Place

By @ibtimesau on
A tourist writes a message expressing hope for family members and those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur
A tourist from Vietnam writes a message expressing hope for family members and those onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said

Effective March 14, Malaysia Airlines will no longer be using MH370 from its roster of flight codes, essentially relegating to history the fate and mystery of the missing plane.

"As a mark of respect to the passengers and crew of MH370 on March 8, the MH370 and MH371 flight codes will be retired from the Malaysia Airlines' Kuala Lumpur-Beijing-Kuala Lumpur route," the beleaguered airliner state in a statement.

"With effect from March 14, the new flight number to replace MH370 and MH371 will be: MH318 Kuala Lumpur-Beijing and MH319 Beijing- Kuala Lumpur."

Malaysia Airlines pointed out that despite the change in flight codes, it will maintain the same frequency of services and will continue to operate double daily flights to Beijing.

A check on the airline company's Web site ticketing system revealed MH318 will have its maiden flight on March 14 at 12.35am.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 has officially been missing for a week now, with no trace of sight and sound available for authorities to look and investigate into.

Aviation experts, government authorities and even conspiracy theorists have concocted several notions.

Read: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Conspiracy Theories Abound Missing Plane

But two U.S. defence officials strongly believed whatever happened on Malaysia Airlines MH370 was meant to be kept a secret, at least to those on board. The two officials surmised a "manual intervention" happened that systematically closed down the two communication systems aboard the jumbo jet, albeit it happened separately.

The unidentified U.S. officials told ABC they believed the data reporting system was shut down at 1:07 a.m., while the transponder, which transmits location and altitude, was shut down at 1:21 a.m. The time difference was more than 10 minutes apart, indicating the jet carrying 239 people did not suffer some kind of immediate catastrophic failure or accident.

"We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean," the senior Pentagon official said.

Read: Malaysia Airlines MH370: Looking for a Needle in the Haystack, Uncoordinated Response Embarrasses Malaysians

"It's my understanding that based on some new information that's not necessarily conclusive, but new information, an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean, and we are consulting with international partners about the appropriate assets to deploy," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

The missing Malaysia Airlines jet reportedly sent intermittent data "pings" giving its location, speed and altitude for an extended period even after vanishing from civilian radar screens.

The last transmission placed the plane over water at a "normal" cruising altitude.

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