A senior airline manager and aviation industry expert has suggested he does not believe the Indian Ocean is the final resting place for the doomed flight MH370.
Sir Tim Clark, the head of Emirates Airline, criticised the search efforts for the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, which went missing on 8 March with 239 people on board.
Sir Tim, whose own fleet includes 127 identical aircraft to the missing jet, told Der Spiegel: “Our experience tells us that in water incidents, where the aircraft has gone down, there is always something.
“I am saying that all the ‘facts’ of this particular incident must be challenged and examined with a full transparency. We are nowhere near that.
“There is plenty of information out there, which we need to be far more forthright, transparent and candid about. Every single second of that flight needs to be examined up until it, theoretically ended up in the Indian Ocean – for which they still haven’t found a trace, not even a seat cushion.”
Sir Tim’s comments come as the hunt for the aircraft resumes in the Indian Ocean following a four-month hiatus.
Teams are lowering equipment including sonar, video cameras and jet fuel sensors beneath the waves in a bid to solve the mystery.
The search has been blighted by false alarms including underwater signals wrongly thought to be from the plane’s black boxes to possible debris fields which turned out to be rubbish.
Last week Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the agency leading the search told the Associated Press: "We will give it every possible effort and we think our efforts will be really good — but there's no guarantee of success."
Sir Tim added: “We have not seen a single thing that suggests categorically that this aircraft is where they say it is, apart from this so-called electronic satellite ‘handshake’, which I question as well.”
Data reveals a ‘log-on’ request was made to a satellite just an hour-and-a-half into the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The log-on request (known in the aviation business as a ‘handshake’) was described as “not common” in a report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in June.
It adds a “handshake” can occur for only a few reasons: “These include a power interruption to the aircraft satellite data (SDU) unit, a software failure, loss of critical systems providing input to the SDU or a loss of the link due to aircraft altitude.
“An analysis was performed which determined that the characteristics and timing of the logon requests were best matched as resulting from power interruption to the SDU.”
Aviation expert Peter Marosszeky, from the University of New South Wales, told the Sydney Morning Herald the power outage could be linked to an attempt by hijackers to tamper with cockpit equipment in a bid to avoid radar detection.
Air accident investigator Ewan Wilson believes captain Zaharie Shah was mentally ill and committed suicide, ultimately killing all those on board.
While Sir Tim would not be drawn on who was responsible for the disappearance of the jet, he said: “My own view is that probably control was taken of that airplane.”
He added: “There hasn’t been one overwater incident in the history of civil aviation – apart from Amelia Earhart in 1939 – that has not been at least 5 or 10 per cent trackable.
“But MH370 has simply disappeared. For me, that raises a degree of suspicion. I’m totally dissatisfied with what has been coming out of all this.”