The Malaysian government has moved to hose down suggestions it already has plans to launch a new search for MH370.
Reports in News Corporation’s Australian publications suggested a new search would be launched and that talks were underway with search firm Ocean Infinity.
However, the Malaysian Transport Ministry said no decision on a new search had been made and it would need to consult with Australia and China before one was made.
“While the Transport Ministry deeply empathizes with the family members of the victims and stands by them, the Ministry has not made any decision to relaunch any new searches as there has not been any new credible evidence to initiate such a process,” the ministry said in a statement.
“However, the ministry will review any information that it officially receives.”
Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and has become one of aviation’s biggest mysteries.
Ocean Infinity has repeatedly said it would be prepared to offer its services to the Malaysian Government if it decided to resume the search for the missing plane.
It conducted a search on a “no find, no fee” basis in 2018 using hi-tech underwater drones but failed to find the missing Boeing 777.
There have since been developments in the autonomous underwater vehicles the company used in the initial search that allows them to stay underwater for longer.
However, Ocean Infinity chief executive Oliver Plunkett told media organizations that no new search is imminent and that the Malaysians had rightly set a high bar before they would discuss one.
He said the company continued to engage with a number of subject experts to identify a potential new search area.
The hope now is that there will be enough evidence to convince the Malaysians to mount a new search by the time calmer summer weather arrives in the Southern Indian Ocean at the end of the year.
A critical breakthrough may be work by an independent group of experts that has continued to refine data since the last search ended.
The group earlier this month defined new areas adjacent to those previously covered as a possible resting place for the aircraft.
The search area defined by experts Victor Iannello, Bobby Ulich, Richard Godfrey, and Andrew Banks looked at three scenarios and gave the best estimate of the point of impact as S34.2342° and E93.7875°.
The highest priority was assigned to a 23,050 sq. km area that assumed no pilot inputs after fuel exhaustion and an impact “well beyond what was previously searched’.
The next highest priority assumes a glide towards the south after fuel exhaustion and encompasses an area of 22,000 sq. km.
“The lowest priority is the controlled glide in an arbitrary direction with an area of around 48,400 NM2 (166,000 sq. km ),’’ it said.