MH370 report: Malaysia civil aviation chief resigns over air traffic control lapses

It was during a routine handover by controllers that the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 vanished in 2014.

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By Alastair Jamieson

The chairman of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority resigned Tuesday after the official accident report on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 highlighted failures by air traffic controllers.

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.AP

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a statement that the report had identified lapses in operating procedures as the doomed jet passed from controllers in Kuala Lumpur to counterparts in Vietnam.

It was during that routine handover that the Beijing-bound Boeing 777 vanished on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.

"Therefore, it is with regret and after much thought and contemplation that I have decided to resign,” the chairman said in the statement.

The 495-page safety report, which was published Monday, was “unable to determine the real cause” of MH370’s disappearance.

It said the aircraft was likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course but couldn’t determine who was responsible, when or why.

A slow response by air traffic controllers in Malaysia and Vietnam delayed the launch of search and rescue operations, it said, while the battery in the plane's emergency locator beacon had expired.

The report called for modern passenger jets to be globally trackable. "In this technological epoch, the international aviation community needs to provide assurance to the travelling public that the location of current-generation commercial aircraft is always known," it said. "It is unacceptable to do otherwise."

Kurt Chirbas contributed.