SEPANG, March 13 — Boeing and Rolls Royce did not receive engine data from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the flag carrier said today when refuting reports that engine information showed the plane flew four hours longer than previously known.
Speaking during the daily press conference on the search efforts today, MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said both the plane maker and engine builder have denied they received two bursts of Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) feedback allegedly from the Beijing-bound plane with 239 on board.
“The reports that the plane transmitted data long after the ACARS signal was lost are inaccurate. Our records show that the last ACARS transmission was at 1.07am,” Ahmad said.
“We have contacted both Rolls Royce and Boeing and both deny receiving the data.”
An earlier report by the Wall Street Journal that Rolls Royce such information had raised the possibility that the plane could be anywhere in a 4,400-mile radius.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who was also present at the press conference, pointed out that employees from both Boeing and Rolls Royce have been in Malaysia since Sunday and never raised such an issue.
The Boeing and Rolls Royce teams had accompanied the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials here to aid investigations.
“As far as Boeing and Rolls Royce are concerned, the reports that the plane flew on after the signal was lost are inaccurate,” Hishammuddin said earlier.
A MAS official earlier today also told the media that the reported bursts of engine data did not take place, insisting that the ACARS signal dropped off when the Beijing-bound plane with 239 people on board went dark in the early hours of March 8.
Today, Ahmad Jauhari also said that the final ACARS transmission indicated that everything was normal with the engines on MH370.
Yesterday, the Bloomberg news service cited a source as saying that MAS opted out of a Boeing service to collect real-time performance data from jets like the 777-200ER used by MH370 for use in planning maintenance.
The source said MAS now collated such data itself.
The revelation of the purported engine data from Boeing and Rolls Royce raises the possibility that MH370 flew as far as 2,200 miles before it would have run out of fuel; this would put the search area into the millions of square kilometres or virtually impossible to humanly scour.
It also added to speculation that hijacking or terrorism was behind the disappearance of the plane that has now been missing for six days.
MH370 disappeared without sending any distress calls at 1.30am, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
Military radar recorded a plane that could have been the MAS flight turning back to the Straits of Malacca before losing the data plot at 2.15am when the plane was at 29,500 feet.