ABSTRACT: The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has emerged as a highly discussed and debated crisis in recent times, drawing significant attention to the organization on both a business level and as an extension of the Malaysian government. By integrating the concepts of the mediating media model as presented by Pang (2010) and the information processing and knowledge management framework outlined by Coombs (2012), this research aims to assess the air carrier's interaction with the media and its strategies for online communication during the critical initial two weeks of the crisis. To accomplish this, data were gathered from Malaysia Airlines' conventional and contemporary media-based public relations practices. These data were then subjected to analysis employing a qualitative case study methodology following the approach outlined by Yin (2009). The focal point of this study is to demonstrate that the adverse portrayal of Malaysia Airlines by its media stakeholders underwent a complex interplay of factors, both controlled and uncontrolled, that characterized the crisis. These factors encompassed issues ranging from a lack of information to the delicate nature of the organization's relationship with the press. In essence, this study seeks to shed light on how Malaysia Airlines managed its communication strategies in response to the MH370 crisis during its critical early stages. It contends that the challenges the airline faced were not only tied to the nature of the crisis but also influenced by the intricate dynamics between the organization and the media, including elements it could manage and those that were beyond its control.
Keywords: Flight MH370, Malaysian Airlines, Missing Flight MH370