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Former Australian PM Says Malaysian Leaders Suspected MH370 Pilot of Suicide

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The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 nearly six years ago remains one of aviation’s great mysteries.

The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, literally disappeared off the radar screen, and even the bits and pieces of wreckage found months later in the Indian Ocean hasn’t fully explained the incident.

Now former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the “top levels” of the Malaysian government have always had an idea what happened.

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In an interview with Sky News for a documentary, Abbott said high-ranking Malaysian officials long believed veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately downed the jet in a murder-suicide plot that killed all 239 passengers and crew.

“My very clear understanding, from the very top levels of the Malaysian government, is that from very, very early on, they thought it was murder-suicide by the pilot,” said Abbott, who was Australia’s prime minster from 2013 to 2015. “I’m not going to say who said what to whom, but let me reiterate, I want to be absolutely crystal clear, it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder-suicide by the pilot.”

Australia worked closely with Malaysia, China and several other countries in a coordinated effort to find that plane that lasted three years before the search was abandoned.

If true, the scenario would be eerily similar to what happened a year later, in March of 2015, when Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked himself inside the cockpit when the pilot stepped out and guided the flight into the side of a mountain in a remote French village.

Malaysia’s former prime minister and police chief said there was no conclusive proof of a murder-suicide plot. Former Prime Minister Najib Razak told the Free Malaysia Today online portal that a possible pilot suicide was never ruled out but it would be “unfair and legally irresponsible” to pin the blame on Zaharie as the black boxes had not been found.

Malaysian police chief Abdul Hamid Bador, who was one of the investigators, told local media that there was no evidence of Zaharie’s involvement and that the plane’s disappearance was still a mystery. Former Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement that investigators had “explored every single lead and possibility” but found no conclusive answer to why the plane vanished.

A Malaysian-led independent investigation report released in 2018 said the plane’s course was changed manually but did not name a suspect and raised the possibility of “intervention by a third party.” Investigators, however, said the cause of the disappearance couldn’t be determined until the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes are found.

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United Puts Financial Losses Into Shocking Perspective

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With the demand for travel at an all-time low thanks to stay-at-home directives and severe travel restrictions, United Airlines on Thursday put the industry’s financial losses into a stark perspective.

According to the aviation blog The Points Guy, which had privy to view a virtual town hall held by the carrier, United is losing “over $100 million a day” due to the impact of the coronavirus global pandemic, United president Scott Kirby said.

Kirby conducted the town hall along with current CEO Oscar Munoz, who is stepping down in favor of Kirby later this year.

As The Points Guy pointed out, United cut almost 70 percent of its schedule in April with further cuts likely for May—as all airlines have. In fact, predictions going forward are dire. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said they expect airlines to lose a collective $61 billion in the second quarter of this year (April, May and June).

United said it will pursue some of the $25 billion in grants available for employee compensation from the U.S. government stimulus package, as well as consider whether to apply for some of the $25 billion in loans. But this is all uncharted territory for the industry, even after the financial devastation from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“One of the lessons from this is, our stress test from 9/11 wasn’t stressful enough,” Kirby said in reference to United’s preparations and need for cash to keep operating.

United has not decided whether to permanently retire any jets as a result of the coronavirus, according to The Points Guy.

“If we want to emerge stronger, if we want to emerge the world’s leading airline on the other side of this, we have to have flexibility,” he said.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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