KUALA LUMPUR: The Seabed Constructor, a Norwegian research vessel, is expected to arrive at the new Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 search area by this weekend.
Confirming this today, Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the DCA will receive daily updates from its crew on the search progress.
This information, he said, would be channeled to the next of kin first via the DCA website.
“We will also provide updates on the search mission to the media and public once a week," he said.
Azharuddin was speaking to reporters after attending the Allied Aeronautics Training Centre’s (Allied) ‘moment of pride’ meet and greet session.
The Malaysian government and United States-based exploration firm Ocean Infinity Limited had on January 10 inked a deal to officially resume the search for the missing jetliner.
The search, which had been suspended for about a year, would take place in a new search area of 25,000 square kilometre of the Indian Ocean.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said the deal would be on a "no cure, no fee" basis, whereby the government would have to pay US$20 million (RM82 million) if the debris were found within the first 5,000 sq km, US$ 30 million (RM122 million) for the subsequent 10,000 sq km and US$50 million (RM204 million) for another 10,000 sq km.
Ocean Infinity would be paid a total of USD70 million (RM280 million) for areas beyond.
The search, which would focus on identifying the location of the wreckage or debris field and black box recorders, must howeveer be completed within a 90-day time frame.
Meanwhile, Azharuddin, during a question-and-answer session with Allied students, said the government had spend almost RM1 billion to search for the missing flight.
"Why did we spend? We spent because we want to know the answer. In every aircraft incident that we encounter, we want to know the reason.
"Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) says that we have to conduct an investigation so that we know the cause and thus, can prevent similar incidents from happening," he said, adding that it is also to provide closure to the next-of-kin.
He said a total of 26 countries have lent their hands to help the government with the search mission, which involved more than 150 aircraft and ships.
Meanwhile on a separate matter, Azharuddin said DCA would be upgraded into a statutory body and would be known as the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) from next month.
A detailed announcement, however, would be made by the transport minister.
The decision to upgrade the department is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)’s requirement, which calls on contracting states of the Chicago Convention to establish an autonomous civil aviation authority.
The Chicago Convention, or Convention on International Civil Aviation, was drafted in 1944 by 54 nations to promote cooperation and understanding among countries.
CAAM’s primary function is to regulate the safety and security of the aviation sector.