The loss of a -200ER operated by (MAS) flight MH370 could be the worst air accident involving the twin-aisle since the type entered service in 1995.
Flight MH370 was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it disappeared off radar in the early hours of March 8 after departing Kuala Lumpur destined for Beijing. The aircraft was en route to the IGARI waypoint on airway R208 at FL350. There is no evidence of a distress call from the crew.
The flight operated as a code-share with, a member of the oneworld alliance which MAS joined in 2013.
According to the airline, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian, has 18,365 hr. He joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981. First Officer Fariq Ab.Hamid, a 27-year-old Malaysian, has logged 2,763 flying hours. He joined MAS in 2007.
The aircraft involved is registration 9M-MRO. According to Aviation Week’s Fleet database, the aircraft is c/n 28420, line No. 404, delivered to the airline in May 2002. It was powered byengines. The airframe was involved in at least one notable previous incident – an airfield incursion at Shanghai Pudong airport in 2012.
Founded in 1972, Malaysia Airlines has one fatal accident – excluding a 1977 hijacking – on record: a 1995 Fokker 50 crash at Tawau that killed 34 of 53 onboard. There have been non-fatal accidents in 1982, 1983 and 2000 involving a BN-2A Islander at Lawas, anA300B and an Airbus -200 in Kuala Lumpur, respectively. The A330 was written off after toxic chemicals leaked from a cargo container on the ground.
Two Boeing 777 hulls have been lost--a 2008(BA) crash landing at Heathrow, later pegged to a fuel system icing issue, and last year’s crash landing at San Francisco, which the is still probing. Both were 777-200s; the BA aircraft had Trent 800 powerplants, while the Asiana aircraft was powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4090 engines. A third—an EgyptAir 777-200 that suffered a cockpit fire in July 2011—was damaged beyond repair and written off.
A second BA 777-200 withengines was involved in a fatal incident in Denver in September 2001 when a fire broke out during refueling, killing a ground service worker. The aircraft suffered minimal thermal damage.