What happens after MH370 is found
Like the Titanic, MH370 will be found eventually but Australia needs to drop its fear of politically offending Malaysia if the full truth is ever to come out, the lawyer representing Australian families of the doomed flight says.
Former pilot and Civil Aviation Authority official turned lawyer John Dawson still talks to two Australian families of loved ones from MH370 and eight families related to the MH17 tragedy whose claims for compensation were settled a year ago.
He said the MH370 case file was difficult to run with distressed families and Malaysia Airlines throwing up delay after delay to avoid paying.
He said he believed the aircraft would be found eventually like the Titanic but the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) could have done more.
"Australia seems to be very concerned about offending the Malaysians," Mr Dawson said.
"When you track all this through, MH370 and MH17, after that we had an engine failure of a Malaysian aircraft which landed at Alice Springs (January 2018), then you had even worse out of Brisbane an aircraft took off with a cover on a Pitot tube (air intake pipe) in July 2018 … CASA took no action and like the ATSB it seems to be they didn't want to come to a version of events which would in any way be insulting or disparaging of Malaysians.
"Julie Bishop as then foreign minister was very good and she would ring my clients and bring them up to date but whether we need Malaysia for something I don't know, it seemed to be a political issue but the government just did not want to in any way offend them."
He said he personally believed the "overwhelming evidence" pointed to the MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah having pre-planned to crash the plane but there was general reluctance by investigators to talk about him and that had also led to search areas being "ill judged".
"Malaysia Airlines concede no-one could determine what happened, neither party could establish in a court absolutely what happened then, in a funny sort of way we didn't want to say the pilot was responsible in a criminal way because it absolved the airline," he said.
He added: "The Titanic was found, they will find MH370 eventually … there's enough evidence pointing to it."
Meanwhile, about 100 MH370 families of victims from Australia, China, India and Malaysia this month lost an appeal against a court ruling that lawsuits against Malaysia Airlines, insurer Allianz and manufacturer Boeing could not be heard in the US.
The US Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling to dismiss nationwide litigation and ruled any case for further or cross compensation from these other entities should be heard in Malaysia.
The case was further complicated when in 2015 Malaysia Airlines rebranded as Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS), a separate entity which did not assume any MH370-related liabilities.