Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows two maps with corridors of the last known possible location of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows two maps with corridors of the last known possible location of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370Reuters

The chief executive of Malaysia Airlines has revealed that the final words from missing flight MH370 were a simple "alright, good night" to ground control, 12 minutes after the key signalling system was manually switched off.

Ahmad Jauhari added that the words were spoken by co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, but stopped short of saying whether there was any sign of stress in the voice.

Reports suggest the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (Acars), which transmits to the ground key information on a plane's condition, was deliberately shut down.

Jauhari said that the last Acars transmission was at 1.07am. Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanadded stated that the "all right, good night" message from the cockpit was issued at 1.19am.

A daily press conference on the missing flight failed to spread light on the whereabouts of the plane.

Malaysia's transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that over the past 48 hours the number of countries involved in the search increased to 26, with China and France both joining the investigation team.

Hishammuddin also said that Australian Defence commenced planning to provide two additional AP‑3C Orions within the next 24 hours.

He also said that "search and rescue operations in the northern and southern corridors have already begun".

Hishammuddin said that Malaysia "has been co-operating with the FBI, Interpol and other relevant international law enforcement authorities since day one", dismissing speculation that Kuala Lumpur held back information about MH370 movements.

FLIGHT MH370 FACTBOX

Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route to Beijing at 00:41 on Saturday 8 March (16:41 GMT Friday).

About 50 minutes later, the aircraft lost contact with air traffic control.

No distress call was made.

On board, there were 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 14 countries. They included 153 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Two Iranian male passengers, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mahread and Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, were travelling on fake passports. Neither had any apparent links to terrorist groups.

No debris from the plane has been found in the international search.

At least 10 countries, including China, the US and Singapore, are using a total of 42 ships and 39 aircraft to search for the missing plane in the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Andaman Sea.