MH370 Passengers/Manifests

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Flight MH370 Passenger Manifests

Note: For details about the information recorded by Malaysia Airlines for each passenger, see the section Passenger Name Record below.

When Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 failed to arrive at Beijing International Airport on Saturday, 8 March 2014 one of the first things that waiting family and friends wanted to know was 'who was on board flight MH370?'. Did the passenger they were expecting to meet actually board that flight?

A list of all the passengers who have boarded a commercial aircraft is called a passenger manifest. The requirement to create and keep a record of the passenger manifest for each flight is specified by the ICAO in Appendix 9 to the Convention on Civil Aviation. However, the information required to be recorded is minimal.

Malaysia Airlines did not release a passenger manifest until the company had attempted to contact next-of-kin.

Meanwhile, friends and family of passengers on MH370 were waiting at the airport in Beijing. Everyone wanted to know why the flight was delayed, whether it had landed at an alternate airport, or had the aircraft crashed.

As an interim measure, a list of passengers was made available by officials in Beijing using data sent to the Beijing Capital International Airport by the airline after the aircraft had departed Kuala Lumpur.

The Menu links to five versions of passenger manifests for flight MH370.

  • The version released in Beijing was compiled from an Advance Passenger Information system.
  • In Malaysia, passenger information was eventually released in a document called a Passenger Manifest.
  • Later, the official Passenger Manifest was released with additional data - the seat allocation for each person.
  • Both of the Passenger Manifests in Malaysia were released twice, so there are two versions of each document.
  • And none of these various documents is completely accurate. At least two of the passengers on MH370 were travelling on false (stolen) passports. Those names were never corrected. And many names were joined together or also contained titles, which is misleading.

Passenger Name Record

Malaysia Airlines recorded information about every passenger who had obtained a Ticket for flight MH370. The information forms a Passenger Name Record (PNR) which was stored electronically in a database.

The Passenger Manifest for flight MH370 should be a list of every person who boarded the aircraft for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Saturday, 8 March 2014.

Malaysia Airlines released a Passenger Manifest at 7:20 pm on Saturday, 8 March 2014 after attempts had been made to contact next-of-kin. This manifest listed passengers by Name, Nationality and Age on lines numbered from 1 to 227. The Name record was formatted Family Name/First Names and in many instances included a Title with no separation between names or a title.

This list was subsequently re-issued on Thursday, 10 April 2014 with minor changes, including the removal of Titles.

A different list was circulated in Beijing. This version of a Passenger Manifest for flight MH370 lists passengers by name, with each name separated, nationality as a code or abbreviation, date of birth instead of age, passport number, and two other columns, on lines numbered from 1 to 227. The document is written in a combination of English and Chinese characters but the page header includes MH370, API and 227. The API is Advance Passenger Information which is collated for legal, rather than operational, reasons. The number 227 refers to the total number of passengers. For privacy reasons, a person's date of birth or passport number would not normally be made public, so the Passenger Manifests released officially in Malaysia did not include those details.

None of the above lists included seat allocations. This was provided first by a Passenger Seating Plan dated 1 May 2014 prepared by Malaysia Airlines and released by the Ministry of Transport (Malaysia). This version contained formatting errors.

A revised and improved version of the passenger Seating Plan was released on 5 May 2014.

From the information presented in each of these documents we can compile a list of data items which Malaysia Airlines must have retained as part of the Passenger Name Record for each ticket holder:-

  1. Flight Number, Date and Time
  2. Departure and Destination airports
  3. Passenger name and title
  4. Passenger date of birth
  5. Contact telephone number
  6. Passport Number
  7. Nationality
  8. Seat Allocation and Class
Either a document called "Passenger ticket and Baggage Check" or an Electronic Ticket, which we or our Authorised Agents have issued to you.
An Itinerary/Receipt, Electronic Coupon and boarding document we have issued to you.
An electronic Flight Coupon for an Electronic Ticket held in our computer database.
Source: MAS General Conditions of Carriage, Malaysian Airline System Berhad, 1 September 2012
Passenger Name Record (PNR)
Passenger Name Records (PNR) are collected by airlines solely for their business purposes. PNR contain information about bookings made which can include as little as a name, an itinerary and a ticket indicator. Accuracy is not guaranteed and PNR can contain sensitive personal data
Source: API-PNR Toolkit, IATA
A list of people and goods carried on a ship or plane.
Source: Cambridge Dictionary