Malaysia Airlines Thursday asked distraught relatives of the 227 passengers on board the ill-fated Flight MH370 to go back to the “comfort of their own homes” as the search for the plane could be a prolonged one.
“Instead of staying in hotels, the families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends,” the airlines said in a statement.
It said the search and investigation into the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 could be a prolonged process.
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Malaysia Airlines will be closing all of its Family Assistance Centres around the world by May 7.
However, with the support of the Malaysian government, the airlines will establish Family Support Centres in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
The airlines said it will keep in close touch with the families on news updates through telephone calls, messages, the Internet and face-to-face meetings.
The detailed plan of follow-up support and services will be informed in person to the families, the statement said.
Malaysia Airlines said it will make advanced compensation payments soon to the nominated next-of-kin who are entitled to claim compensation in order to meet their immediate economic needs.
Such advanced payments will not affect the rights of the next-of-kin to claim compensation according to the law at a later stage and will be calculated as part of the final compensation, the statement said.
“Immediately after the next-of-kin have returned home, our representatives will be in touch with them at the earliest opportunity to initiate the advanced compensation payment process,” it said.
The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370- carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals – had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
The mystery of the missing plane continued to baffle aviation and security authorities who have so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft despite deploying hi-tech radar and other gadgets.
Malaysia believes the flight was deliberately diverted by someone on board and that satellite data indicates it crashed in the Indian Ocean, west of the Australian city of Perth.
The Malaysian government has so far been tight-lipped about its investigation into the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jet, adding to the anger and frustration among relatives of the passengers.