Air France, Lufthansa To Avoid Ukraine Airspace After Malaysian Plane Crash [Update]

Kim LaCapria - Author

Jul. 17 2014, Updated 11:34 a.m. ET

Earlier today, reports that a Malaysian plane crashed over Russian airspace began to appear on social sites, and now, Air France has reportedly decided to temporarily re-route flights away from affected airspace.

As of now, information on the Malaysian jet crash is scant, but statements have been issued on behalf of the involved governments.

Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed in one of the statements that a Malaysian Airlines’ Boeing 777 traveling Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur had “disappeared from radar screens,” before adding:

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“In recent days, this is the third tragic accident after the Russian territory were downed aircraft AN-26 and SU-25 Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any action to defeat the purposes of the air.”

He continued:

“President of Ukraine on behalf of the State expresses its deep and sincere condolences to the families and relatives of the victims of this terrible tragedy. Made all possible search and rescue activities… The perpetrators of this tragedy will be brought to justice.”

Malaysia Airlines also released a statement confirming the incident, saying:

“Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC

that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border… Flight MH17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.”

The statement adds that 280 passengers and 15 crew members were on board when the crash occurred.

Malaysian PM Mohd Najib Tun Razak tweeted:

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Initial reports suggest that airlines are reacting to the Malaysian crash and Air France is reportedly steering clear of the affected area:

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Reports also indicate Lufthansa will follow suit:

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And a Russian airline is said to be taking the same precautions:

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Update, 1:18 PM: The FAA warned airlines months ago to avoid Crimean airspace due to the ongoing conflict:

“In addition, political and military tension between Ukraine and the Russian Federation remains high, and compliance with air traffic control instructions issued by the authorities of one country could result in a civil aircraft being misidentified as a threat and intercepted or otherwise engaged by air defense forces of the other country.”

As of now, the cause of the Malaysian crash is under investigation, and no official recommendation has been made about the safety of airspace over East Ukraine.


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