The search for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014 underway to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, will continue uninterrupted despite a second tragedy striking the airline in the crash of flight MH17.
This week, Warren Truss, Australia's deputy prime minister, insisted the Australian-led effort to find the missing Malaysia Airlines plane would not be delayed by the absence of Mr. Houston, the head of the search operation who was sent to Ukraine this week by prime minister Tony Abbott.
"Our commitment to that [MH370] is not in any way diminished by MH17,'' he said.
"Clearly there have been things needed to be done urgently in relation to 17 but there is absolutely no interruption to the program for 370.''
The Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has shifted to a wide-ranging underwater search after completing an extensive search of the ocean floor where crews believed they heard the last pings from the airplane's black box. Two ships, one from Australia and the other a Chinese survey ship, have been covering an area of roughly 25,000 square miles.
Truss noted, however, that there may be some unforeseen difficulty working with Malaysian authorities after the more recent M17 tragedy:
"We've got some meetings with the Malaysians. It's possible I suppose that some of those might be delayed because they have so much on their plate - to agree with [them] the next stage of search."
"We remain fully committed to conducting a thorough undersea search of the likely impact zone in the Indian Ocean," he continued.
"Australia owes it to the families of all of those on board MH370, the travelling public and indeed the wider world to solve this mystery."
Malaysia Airlines--which may change its name in a brand overhaul due to the tragedies-- is also committing resources to the MH370 search, but the company may be making some major changes soon.
Commercial Director Hugh Dunleavy said:
"Our majority shareholder, the Malaysian government, has already started a process of assessing the future shape of our business and that process will now be speeded up as a result of MH17. There are several options on the table but all involve creating an airline fit for purpose in what is a new era for us, and other airlines."
According to Truss, the search may continue for at least another year.