The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has continued without a hitch despite a second tragedy striking the airline in the crash of flight M17.
This week, Australia said it remains committed to the search for the missing aircraft, which disappeared in March and is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia.
The head of the search operation in Australia, Angus Houston, has been called to Ukraine to oversee the recovery of bodies of Australian passengers, but the nation’s deputy prime minister says the MH370 search continues in his absence.
“Our commitment to that [MH370] is not in any way diminished by MH17,” said Warren Truss. “Clearly there have been things needed to be done urgently in relation to 17 but there is absolutely no interruption to the program for 370.”
After completing an extensive search of the ocean floor where crews believed they heard the last pings from the airplane’s black box, the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 search has shifted to a wide-ranging underwater search. Two ships, one from Australia and the other a Chinese survey ship, have been covering an area of roughly 25,000 square miles.
Truss noted that there may be some difficulty working with Malaysian authorities after the more recent M17 tragedy:
“We’ve got some meetings with the Malaysians. It’s possible I suppose that some of those might be delayed because they have so much on their plate — to agree with [them] the next stage of search.”
Malaysia Airlines is also committing resources to the MH370 search, but the company may be making some major changes soon. The Telegraph reported that the airline is seeking new investors and plans to redesign its branding strategy.
Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy said:
“Our majority shareholder, the Malaysian government, has already started a process of assessing the future shape of our business and that process will now be speeded up as a result of MH17. There are several options on the table but all involve creating an airline fit for purpose in what is a new era for us, and other airlines.”
Truss said the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might continue for at least another year.