The start of the search for missing flight MH370 was delayed due to "confusion", Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has said.

The comments came shortly after the UN aviation agency announced the industry would voluntarily undertake measures to improve the tracking of aircraft.

In an article published on the Wall Street Journal, Razak said the Malaysian government had important lessons to learn from the mistakes made during the search for the plane, which is still missing.

"We didn't get everything right," he wrote in the signed article. "In the first few days after the plane disappeared, we were so focused on trying to find the aircraft that we did not prioritise our communications.

"It took air-traffic controllers four hours to launch the search-and-rescue operation. But the plane vanished at a moment - between two countries' air-traffic controls - that caused maximum confusion.

"Despite this, the search began about a third quicker than during the Air France Flight 447 tragedy in 2009," he said, referring to a plane which crashed en route to Paris from Brazil in 2009.

"Nevertheless, the response time should and will be investigated. In an age of smartphones and mobile internet, real-time tracking of commercial airplanes is long overdue."

He also recommended changing aeroplane communications systems so they could not be disabled in mid-flight, and prolonging the battery life of black boxes.

Inadequate tracking has been among the factors blamed for the failure to locate MH370, which is presumed to have crashed with 239 people on board in a remote part of the Indian Ocean about 1,600 km northwest of Perth, Australia.

After two months of extensive searching, the missing flight is yet to be found.


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. That 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.

Last confirmed communication with Indian Ocean satellite occurred at 08:11am, meaning plane continued to fly for seven hours after radar signal was lost.

At least 25 countries, including China, the US and Singapore, have now joined in the search for the missing plane.