2 May 2014

Relatives of missing told to go home

7:37 am on 2 May 2014

Malaysia Airlines has asked relatives of passengers on board flight MH370 to leave the hotel accommodation it is providing and return to their homes.

Malaysia Airlines is closing its family assistance centres.

Malaysia Airlines is closing its family assistance centres. Photo: AFP

It is closing the family assistance centres set up after the plane vanished on 8 March with 239 people on board, the BBC reports.

The airline promised to keep relatives up to date on the search operation.

Meanwhile, a report by Malaysia's transport ministry has recommended the introduction of real-time tracking of commercial air transport.

The ministry's air accident investigation bureau said there had now been two occasions over the past five years when large passenger planes had gone missing and their last position was not accurately known - MH370 and Air France Flight 447 in 2009.

"This uncertainty resulted in significant difficulty in locating the aircraft in a timely manner," the report said.

The search initially took place in the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits, but moved to the southern Indian Ocean after about three weeks when satellite data was reanalysed.

No wreckage from the plane has been found, and an aerial search of the ocean 1,670km north-west of Perth ended on Monday.

An unmanned submarine is continuing to search a 314-sq km area of the ocean floor where acoustic signals consistent with a plane's flight recorder were detected earlier this month.