PETALING JAYA: Department of Civil Aviation director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman has been reported as saying that the new search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will begin next month or January.
According to Channel News Asia (CNA), Azharuddin said the Malaysian government was currently negotiating terms with Ocean Infinity, a US-based seabed exploration firm.
Putrajaya is expected to make a decision soon, following a meeting to be held between Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and his counterparts from Australia and China in the next few weeks.
It was reported last month that Ocean Infinity had been picked by the three countries driving the search for the missing Boeing 777 aircraft, which is believed to have gone down somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean in March 2014.
The company had offered a “no find, no fee” proposal which was too good to refuse by the three governments, who will now only make any payment if the aircraft is found.
Ocean Infinity said it will use six HUGIN autonomous under-water vehicles capable of operating at depths of up to 6,000 metres to collect high-resolution data at what it says are “record-breaking speeds”.
Australia, China and Malaysia, which jointly coordinated and funded the search operation led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), announced in January that it had called off the A$220 million (RM700 million) search for MH370 despite the protests of families of those on board the aircraft.
The disappearance of the Boeing 777 on March 8, 2014, on a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 passengers and crew members on board, has become one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
The aircraft was thought to have been diverted thousands of miles off course out over the southern Indian Ocean before crashing about 2,000km off the coast of Western Australia.
The ATSB released a 440-page final report on the unsuccessful search for flight MH370 on Oct 3, where it concluded that the reasons for the loss of the aircraft could not be established with certainty until the aircraft was found.