Long haul flight delays as planes re-routed to avoid Ukraine airspace

2014-07-18 08:27
Cape Town - Passengers on long-haul flights could face delays in the coming days as airlines announced flight rerouting as a precautionary measure to avoid Ukraine's airspace, on one of main route between Europe, the Middle East and Far East.

 Authorities have confirmed all 280 passengers and 15 crew members on Malaysia Airlines flight MH017 (KLM flight 4103) from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS, Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL, Malaysia) were killed when the plane crashed in Ukraine at around 18:00 (Ukraine local time) on 17 July. Ukrainian officials allege that the aircraft was shot down by pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk region, a claim denied by the separatists.

The US Federal Aviation Authority issued a notice declaring Ukrainian airspace "hazardous and prohibiting US flight operations until further notice".

See News24's Live coverage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash

Some airlines are reportedly diverting flights around eastern Ukrainian airspace, and others are likely to take similar measures. Express.co.uk reports British Airways revealed all its flights except a once a day service between Heathrow and Kiev. The airline also confirmed it would be reviewing this flight schedule. Virgin Atlantic said two Heathrow flights - to Mumbai and Dubai - were also being slightly diverted.

According to Malaysia Airlines, there were 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysian, 27 Australian, 12 Indonesian, nine British, four German, four Belgian, three Filipino and one Canadian nationals on board. The nationalities of another 41 passengers remain unconfirmed.

A look at the airspace over the Ukraine using FlightAware at 6:00 SA time

Aviation authorities in the US and Europe have been warning airlines to avoid flying over parts of the country as early as April, raising questions as to why these planes were still taking the risk.

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Read more on:    russia  |  ukraine  |  mh17  |  air crashes

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