Airline director inflames tense relations with families
Australia says it is committed to keeping up the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared over the Indian Ocean on March 8. This comes after passengers’ families were angered by comments from the airline suggesting the plane would officially be declared “lost”.
Hugh Dunleavy, the airline’s commercial director, inflamed the already tense relations with the families by telling a newspaper in New Zealand recently that next of kin would be compensated “once we’ve had an official loss recorded”.
The paper claimed that it was likely Australia and Malaysia would declare the plane lost by the end of 2014, ending the costly undersea search.
Voice 370, a group representing the families, said that Dunleavy’s “unilateral declaration brings intense agony and confusions to family members and makes us lose faith in the search effort”. Malaysia Airlines said Dunleavy’s comments were an “expression of a personal opinion only”.
The Australia-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre also dismissed the comments. “Australia continues to lead the search for MH370 on behalf of Malaysia and remains committed to providing all necessary assistance in the search for the aircraft,” it said, adding that the comments were “greatly disturbing” for the families involved.
[image courtesy Joint Agency Coordination Centre]