Decoding MH370/Dates and Times

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Decoding MH370: Dates and Times


  1. Universal Coordinated Time (UTC)

    To standardise on a reference for time, Universal Coordinated Time is determined to be the time at 0o longtitude, which historically is the reference meridian associated with the Greenwich Observatory in London, UK. The abbreviation UTC is a compromise between English and French usage.

    Events such as transmissions to or from a satellite are always time-stamped using UTC. The Data Communication Logs of satellite communications to and from flight MH370 record the time of each event in the format HH:MM:SS UTC. Hours are measured 00 to 23 for a 24-hour clock.

  2. Malaysia Time (MYT)

    Malaysia Time is a local time based on the time zone for the country which is UTC plus 8 hours or UTC +8.

    In this website time is typically stated in the format HH:MM:SS MYT.

    Countries or cities in the same time zone as Malaysia may have the same local time. For example, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur are in the same zone (UTC +8).

    In this website the time of each event in the MH370 Timeline articles has been converted to, or stated in, MYT. However original sources such as the Safety Investigation Report generally use UTC followed by an equivalent Malaysian Time in brackets. Text within quotes are not edited.

  3. Time in HH:MM Format

    Some events have been recorded using a shorter form such as 2145 UTC [0545 MYT]. This is hours and minutes. This time could be formatted as 05:45:00 MYT but that implies an accuracy (in seconds) which may not be valid. So any time displayed like 03:30 MYT is in the format HH:MM.

  4. Time in Minutes and Seconds only

    Events likely to be reported with minutes and seconds only would occur from midnight Friday, 7 March 2014 to 1 am Saturday, 8 March 2014.

    For example, a position report generated at 1641:43 UTC is converted to 00:41:43 MYT. The hours are shown as 00 to avoid any confusion.

  5. Example - Departure of Flight MH370

    Each of the statements in italic script can be seen in context on the page Timeline/KLIA-SCS/0042 MYT. Following each quote is an explanation.

    1. On Saturday, 8 March 2014 Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 departed from Runway 32 Right, KL International Airport (KLIA) at 00:42 MYT.

      This statement is a summary and the departure time has been converted to MYT.

    2. Flight MH370, operated on the B777-200 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on 8 March 2014.

      In this quote from a Media Statement the author has intended to mean 41 minutes past midnight but should have used 00 as the hour because a 24-hour clock starts at midnight as 00. (A time of 12:41 would usually mean 41 minutes past midday.) The actual departure time is 16:42 UTC, according to the Departure Message.

    3. On 07 March 2014 at 1642 UTC [0042 MYT, 08 March 2014], Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 Beijing-bound international scheduled passenger flight departed from Runway 32 Right, KL International Airport (KLIA).

      This example illustrates that a time difference of 8 hours can affect the date:- when MH370 departed at 00:42 in Kuala Lumpur the date (in Malaysia) was 8 March 2014. But in London (UK) at 0o longitude the time was 16:42 UTC or 42 minutes past 4 in the afternoon, on 7 March 2014.


Within this website dates are typically stated in the format Day/Month/Year. Exceptions are quotes where the source may use a date format of Month/Day/Year or MM/DD/YY.

The day of the week is also stated, such as Sunday, 15 June 2014.

Day Number

On Tuesday, 11 March 2014 Malaysia Airlines stated As we enter into Day 4, the aircraft is yet to be found. Previously the speakers had used phrases like It has been more than 24 hours..., It has been more than 48 hours..., but the hours stretched into days until Sunday, 15 June 2014 when Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Airlines said It has been the longest 100 days since the disappearance of our MH370.

A significant amount of content in this website is referenced (internally) by a Day Number. In the background, a Day Number is converted to the text for the corresponding Day and Date. This is based on a table developed with a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet using a simple formula to increment the (day) number and corresponding date.

According to this method of counting, Day 1 is the day on which flight MH370 went missing: Saturday, 8 March 2014.

For example, Day 100 is Sunday, 15 June 2014.

The MH370 News Index shows both a Day Number and the corresponding Date.

Day Number and References

References are identified by a Reference ID. See References.

If a reference source includes a publication date then the date is converted to a Day Number and forms part of the Reference ID.