The pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight bound for Beijing have a combined 21,000 hours of flight experience.
Flight MH 370 was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian who has clocked of 18,365 flying hours, said Malaysia Airline's group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. Mr Ahmad was speaking to reporters at a press conference on Saturday morning, some 9 hours after the plane went missing.
The captain joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981, Mr Ahmad added.
The first officer of the flight was 27-year-old Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian. He has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours and had joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
Mr Ahmad also confirmed that there were 14 nationalities among the 238 passengers and crew onboard the plane. Most of the passengers were from China, followed by Malaysia. "Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew," he said.
MAS flight MH370 had lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am on Saturday after departing Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 12.41am. It was due to land in Beijing at 6.30am, and had enough fuel to fly up to 8.30am.
Here is Mr Ahmad Jauhari Yahya's statement in full:
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are deeply saddened this morning with the news on MH370.
Malaysia Airlines confirms that flight MH370 had lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am, today.
There has been speculation that the aircraft has landed at Nanming.
We are working to verify the authenticity of the report and others.
Flight MH370 was operated on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft.
It departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing.
The aircraft was scheduled to land at Beijing International Airport at 6.30am local Beijing time.
The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew – comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.
The passengers were of 14 different nationalities - citizens from:-1. China – 152 plus 1 infant2. Malaysia - 383. Indonesia - 124. Australia - 75. France - 36. United States of America – 3 pax plus 1 infant7. New Zealand - 28. Ukraine - 29. Canada - 210. Russia - 111. Italy - 112. Taiwan - 113. Netherlands - 114. Austria - 1
This flight was a code share with China Southern Airlines.
We are working with authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft.
Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew.
The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a Malaysian aged 53. He has a total flying hours of 18,365hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981.
First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, a Malaysian, is aged 27. He has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.
Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.
The airline will provide regular updates on the situation.
The public may contact +603 7884 1234.
For media queries, kindly contact +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276.
Please also log on to www.malaysiaairlines.com for updates.
Next-of-kin may head to the Support Facility Building at KLIA’s South Support Zone. For directions, call 03 8787 1269.