Malaysia Airlines Changes Plane Routes to Avoid Ukraine

Ukraine Plane Photo Gallery
Phil Nijhuis/APA closed desk of Malaysian airlines is seen at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on Thursday.
By EILEEN NG

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia Airlines says that in the wake of the shooting down of one of its passenger jets over Ukraine, it has changed the route its planes will take on flights to and from Europe.

The airline said in a statement Friday on its website that all of its European flights "will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route."

The plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed Thursday with 298 people on board Flight 17. American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile brought the aircraft down but it wasn't yet clear who fired it.

"The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions," the airline said in a statement on its website.

Even though there were no restrictions, Malaysia Airlines may still face questions about why it continued with flight paths over eastern Ukraine -- at the heart of a violent rebellion against Kiev -- when some airlines decided months ago to change routes to skip around the area.

In Seoul, Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said Asiana had a once-a-week cargo flight that had flown over Ukraine but rerouted the flight in early March amid the worsening situation over the Crimean peninsula.

Korean Air Line also said it had rerouted cargo and passenger flights in early March amid the worsening situation over the Crimean peninsula. A company official, who requested anonymity in line with department rules, said Korean Air Line had had 42 flights -- 26 cargo and 16 passenger flights -- which flew over Ukraine before.

Likewise, Australia's Qantas stopped flying over Ukraine several months ago and shifted its London-Dubai route 400 miles south. A spokeswoman declined to explain the change.

The China Civil Aviation Administration said it instructed all domestic airlines to avoid flying over Ukraine. At present, there are a total of 28 round-trip Chinese flights a week that fly over the area.

A statement from Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department said local "airlines do not use air routes that cross Ukrainian airspace."

Aviation authorities in several countries, including the FAA in the United States, had issued warnings not to fly over parts of Ukraine prior to Thursday's crash, but many carriers, including cash-strapped Malaysia Airlines, had continued to use the route because "it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money," said aviation expert Norman Shanks.


Malaysia Airlines Jet Crashes in Ukraine, and More

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12 Comments

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IN MY OPINION ONLY

DIRECT AIR FORCE ONE TO THAT AREA AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS WITH "O" ON BOARD THEN JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED AS WELL?

"O" SAYS IT'S "GLOBAL TRAGEDY."

WAIT TILL IT HAPPENS TO HIM AND HIS 747 & IT'LL BE "AN EARTHLY TRAGEDY WELL PLEASED?"

IN MY OPINION

July 20 2014 at 2:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fbq181

Seems Malaysia is rather slow catching-on, might be the place to buy Mother-in-law airfare!

July 19 2014 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wwmotorcars

Idiots! They should not fly over Ukraine in the first place.

July 19 2014 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharpsguy

"Malasia Airlines changing route."

Gee, what a GREAT IDEA!

"Malaysia Airlines, had continued to use the route because "it is a shorter route, which means less fuel and therefore less money,"

"The Love Of Money is The Root Of All Evil" And this rocket attack was perpetrated by evil people, but, the money importance of the managers at Malasia Airlines is equally EVIL to place money ahead of human life!

July 19 2014 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
merstockgto

The FAA advised airlines to steer clear of that area. Maylasia Airlines knew that but chose to not to and look what happened.

July 18 2014 at 11:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to merstockgto's comment
cmcclarty

Yep they were warned in April but did not listen I put part of the blame on the airlines for flying into harms way and no Iam not a lawyer.

July 19 2014 at 7:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ralcandea

Might be a good idea to have a reserved seat on each flight for one of the airlines top exectutives of the company for every flight, no charge, just ride with us.

July 18 2014 at 5:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ralcandea

Other airlines were already advoiding that airspace, It was very poor judgement on the airlines part. I feel sorry for the families

July 18 2014 at 5:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ralcandea's comment
fakeconomics2

Good question -- That's Malaysian Airlines and Poor Judgment and Service

July 18 2014 at 5:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
John Roberson

Decide if you want to fly Malaysian airlines or risk their policies of questionable decision making. It is of course your life.

July 18 2014 at 11:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Ray

Save money....cost lives. What a trade off! I think the public will give Malaysian Airlines a no vote of confidence and put an end to their stupidity once and for all. #putoutofbusiness #MalaysianAirlinesNoMore #GoFlyWithSomeoneElseAndLive

July 18 2014 at 9:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
douglas1s

Kinda late on that!

July 18 2014 at 7:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply