The priority zone search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could finish in May, more than a year after the plane vanished with 239 passengers on board, according to investigators.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said on Sunday they expected to finish scouring the area next year, if there were no delays with vessels or weather.
JACC said the decision about the future of the search would be made in collaboration between Australia, Malaysia and China.
About 200,000 square kilometres of the search area has been surveyed so far.
Last week, families of the passengers and crew on board the March 8 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing provided DNA samples to assist in identifying loved ones once the plane was found.
Investigators have released computer-animated video and sonar images of the Indian Ocean seabed where the search has been focused.
The latest JACC update said survey vessel Fugro Equator was continuing to map the ocean floor and would return to Fremantle when it completes its current phase this month.
Search ships GO Phoenix and Fugro Discovery, which are carrying sonar equipment scanning the ocean floor, recommenced search operations last week.
The news is yet another blow to families of passengers and crew on the flight who have been waiting for news of their missing loved ones since march.
Danica Weeks, whose husband Paul was on the missing flight, wrote an article for the Sunday Times detailing her grief.
“But now, March 7 is permanently engraved in my mind and often on rewind,” she wrote.
“Not only as the day we kissed Paul goodbye at Perth Airport, but because mentally, for me, it is still March 7.”
Ms Weeks said not knowing what happened to her husband continued to haunt her.
“Every waking minute, your mind runs scenarios of what might have happened,” she said.
“You are searching the news constantly for any small piece of information that may give you a clue to their whereabouts, and your heart pounds every time the phone rings. Is this it? Have they found something?”
– with AAP