A Malaysian official says the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 by a US company will likely end in June.
Families of passengers on the flight will mark the fourth anniversary of the plane's disappearance on March 8 with renewed hope that the world's biggest aviation mystery will be solved.
Malaysia signed a "no cure, no fee" deal with Texas-based Ocean Infinity in January to resume the hunt for the plane, a year after the official search in the southern Indian Ocean by Australia, Malaysia and China was called off, reports News.com.au.
Ocean Infinity started the search on January 22 and has 90 search days to look for the plane. Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said the 90-day term will spread over a few months because the search vessel has to refuel in Australia and bad weather could be a factor.
Mr Azharuddin said the search is going smoothly and is expected to end by mid-June.
"The whole world, including the next of kin, have (new) hope to find the plane for closure," he told reporters on Saturday at a remembrance event at a shopping mall near Kuala Lumpur.
"For the aviation world, we want to know what exactly happened to the plane," said Mr Azharuddin.
Family members and relatives of passengers lit candles on a stage on Saturday and observed a minute's silence during the three-hour Day of Remembrance event in Kuala Lumpur. Most are split over whether the search will be fruitful.
Officials have said there was an 85 per cent chance of finding the debris in a new 25,000-square-kilometre search area identified by experts. If the mission is successful within three months, payment will be made based on the size of the area searched.
Malaysia says it will pay Ocean Infinity $US20 million (NZD $27,648,023) for 5000 square kilometres of a successful search, $US30 million (NZD $41,472,034) for 15,000 square kilometres, $US50 million (NZD $69,120,057) for 25,000 square kilometres and $US70 million if the plane or flight recorders are found beyond the identified area.
The plane vanished on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, including six Australians.
The official search was extremely difficult because no transmissions were received from the aircraft after its first 38 minutes of flight. Systems designed to automatically transmit the flight's position failed to work, according to a final report issued in January 2017 by the Australian Transport Safety Board.