State of the Operator

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MH370: State of the Operator

The Operator of flight MH370 was Malaysia Airlines (MAS). The State of the Operator is therefore Malaysia.



The term State of the Operator is defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in the Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation which is generally referred to simply as Annex 13.

The word State is used to refer to a nation which is a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The responsibilities of the State of the Operator are defined in Annex 13 and expanded in the ICAO publication Doc 9756 Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.


The person, organization or enterprise engaged in or offering to engage in an aircraft operation.
State of the Operator
The State in which the operator’s principal place of business is located or, if there is no such place of business, the operator’s permanent residence.

Source: Safety Investigation Report VII. Glossary of Terms
(Originally sourced from ICAO Annex 13 Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation).


Application to Flight MH370

On Saturday, 8 March 2014 when flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport destined for Beijing in the People's Republic of China, the company name for the aircraft operator, Malaysia Airlines, was Malaysian Airline System Berhad. This name was frequently shortened to Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

At that time, one of the corporate addresses[1] for Malaysia Airlines was:-

Malaysian Airline System Berhad
MAS Complex A, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
47200 Subang, Selangor Darul Ehsan

Therefore, the State of the Operator is Malaysia.


  1. Berhad (BHD) is a suffix used in Malaysia to identify a public limited company. Berhad, BHD, or Bhd after a company’s name indicates that it is a Malaysian public limited company.[2]
  2. The company Malaysian Airline System Berhad ceased operations on August 31, 2015. A short explanation is provided on the current Malaysia Airlines website[3]:

    Malaysia Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a member of the oneworld airline alliance. The company, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) commenced operations as the national carrier on 1 September 2015 when Malaysian Airline System (MAS) was dissolved from Bursa Malaysia in 2014 and subsequently ceased operations on August 31, 2015.

  3. The current airline operator known commonly as Malaysia Airlines is therefore not relevant, as the company Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) was not the operator of flight MH370.

  1. Business Plan: Our Way Forward, Malaysia Airlines, December 2011
  2. Source: Investopedia
  3. Our Story, Malaysia Airlines,