Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 

The families of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have been told to go home and wait for any updates on the fate of their loved ones.

"The families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends," Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement issued Thursday.

Most of the 227 passengers on the plane that went missing on March 8 were from China. Their family members have been staying in Beijing getting periodic updates on the search for the plane that disappeared en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

"Malaysia Airlines is acutely conscious of, and deeply sympathetic to the continuing unimaginable anguish, distress and hardship suffered by those with loved ones on board the flight," the statement added.

The airline did not appear to hold out much hope for a speedy conclusion to the search, which it called the largest in "human history," although it promised to "keep in close touch" with families.

“From past experience, we understand the continuing search and investigation would be a prolonged process," Jauhari Yahya's statement said.

The families of the missing have repeatedly complained and protested about what they consider to be a lack of transparency on the part of Malaysian authorities, and to a lesser extent, Australian ones in charge of the search off the western coast of that country.

- F. Brinley Bruton, Alastair Jamieson and Henry Austin