Malaysia Airlines is telling relatives of passengers on Flight 370 they should move out of hotels and return home to wait for news on the search for the plane.

Since the plane vanished on March 8, the airline has been putting the relatives up in hotels, where they have been briefed on the search. But it said in a statement the families should now receive information from "the comfort of their own homes".

The airline said it would close its family assistance centres around the world by May 7, but will establish support centres in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. It said it would keep in touch with the relatives through phone calls and meetings.

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Malaysia Airlines also said it would soon make advance compensation payments to relatives.

The Boeing 777 vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and most of the passengers were Chinese. No wreckage has been found and an aerial search for surface debris ended on Monday after six weeks of fruitless hunting. An unmanned sub is continuing to search underwater.