Malaysian co-pilot was on first 777 flight without minder

Updated 24 April 2014

Malaysian co-pilot was on first 777 flight without minder

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines revealed Monday the co-pilot of its missing jet was flying the Boeing 777 for the first time without a so-called “check co-pilot” looking over his shoulder.
Co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid has come under intense scrutiny, along with Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, after Malaysian authorities said flight MH370’s disappearance was due to “deliberate” action in the cockpit.
However, nothing has yet emerged publicly to implicate the two men.
The flag carrier said Fariq, 27, had come through his initial outings in the 777 model with no issues under a standard arrangement in which a First Officer’s first five flights in a new model of plane are done under the watchful eye of a “check co-pilot.”
“The first five flights, the co-pilot normally flies with what we call the check co-pilot. He actually passed the first five flights. We do not see any problem with him,” the airlines’ chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a daily press conference on the crisis.
Flight 370 disappeared off civilian radar about an hour into its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 people, sparking an unprecedented international search across huge swathes of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
Ahmad Jauhari added that Zaharie, 53, was himself an experienced 777 examiner.
“You must realize that he (Fariq) is flying with an examiner. The captain is a 777 examiner,” he added, referring to Zaharie.
Aircraft and ships from several nations are zeroing in on suspected plane debris in the southern Indian Ocean, but have been prevented from recovering anything for confirmation due to the distances involved and rough weather.
Fariq, who joined Malaysia Airlines seven years ago, was accused in an Australian television report of allowing two young South African women into the cockpit of a plane he piloted in 2011, breaching rules imposed after the 9/11 attacks in America.
Police also removed a flight simulator from Zaharie’s home and were examining it for any clues.


Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show

Updated 11 September 2018

Cirque du Soleil heads to Saudi in special one-off show

  • More than 80 artists will take the stage at the King Fahd International Stadium for the show
  • About 250 costumes have been specially made to respect local traditions

MONTREAL: Cirque du Soleil will stage a show in Saudi Arabia for the first time later this month, the high-flying acrobatic troupe announced Monday.
The show will take place in the Saudi capital on Sept. 23 to coincide with the country's national day, public relations director Marie-Helene Lagace told AFP.
More than 80 artists will take the stage at the King Fahd International Stadium for the show, which will also be shown on Saudi state television. Cirque says it will be one of its biggest one-off productions ever.
About 250 costumes have been specially made to respect local traditions and conform to "the artistic standards for which we are known," Lagace said.
The announcement of Cirque du Soleil's appearance in Saudi Arabia was first made in Los Angeles in April, Lagace noted. But it was unclear whether the show would go on given the diplomatic tensions.
At the behest of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has reopened movie theaters and allowed women and men to attend some concerts together.