Kuala Lumpur: Fariq Abdul Hamid, the 27-year-old co-pilot of flight MH370, was on his first flight aboard a Boeing 777 as a fully-approved pilot, it emerged on Monday.

Co-pilot of flight MH370 Fariq Abdul Hamid

Malaysia Airlines has revealed that Fariq, who joined the airline seven years ago, was just starting to pilot the Boeing 777 and that the ill-fated flight to Beijing on March 8 was only his sixth in the cockpit of a 777 — and his first without a check pilot overseeing him.

“The first five flights, the co-pilot normally flies with what we call the check co-pilot,” said Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the airline’s head at a press briefing.

“He actually passed the first five flights. We did not see any problem with him.”

Fariq, a flying enthusiast who was planning to marry his pilot girlfriend, had 2,763 hours of flying experience; it was already known that he was transitioning to the Boeing 777.

On March 15, the police had searched pilot Zaharie’s and co-pilot Fariq’s houses, where they had recovered a self-built flight simulator, among other items, from the former’s home.

Malaysia has sent the home-made flight simulator to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US to retrieve and analyse the deleted data.

The flying hours that co-pilot Fariq had accumulated over a tenure of seven years

The number of hours that pilot Zaharie had accumulated