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Friday, July 18, 2014

Was MH17 flying through warzone to save fuel?

A man points at a world map at a Malaysia Airlines branch office in Jakarta on July 18, 2014 after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine. -- PHOTO: AFP 

Malaysia Airlines MH17 Crash; Flying through conflict zones unavoidable say aviation experts.
PUBLISHED ON JUL 18, 2014 12:53 PM

WASHINGTON - While commercial airlines would re-route a flight to avoid flying through a war zone, passing through some areas of conflict is almost unavoidable, say aviation experts in the United States.
Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was on a "regular flight path for a flight between Europe and Asia" says aviation analyst from the Teal Group Richard Aboulafia. "Nobody would have expected this."
The air corridor over Ukraine has always been a crowded one for flights between Europe and Asia – particularly South-east Asia – and re-routing around the airspace would mean an increase in flight time and fuel costs, reported AFP.
Experts add that re-routing a flight often depends on how dangerous the conflict zone is.
"You would avoid Syria or the South and North Korean border, but it really depends on the severity of the conflict. A lot of people still fly over Israel for example," adds Mr Aboulafia.
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The United States believes a surface-to-air missile brought the Boeing 777 down over territory held by pro-Russian separatists but hasn't indicated who's responsible -- though both sides in the ongoing civil conflict in Ukraine blame each other.
Deadly airline disasters
According to a top Ukrainian official, the airliner, which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam with nearly 300 people on board, was flying at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) over the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine when the missile hit.

A number of airlines have since re-routed services away from the region, prompting questions about whether commercial aircraft should be anywhere near conflict zones anyway.

Other planes shown steering well clear of disrupted area

European Aviation and Safety Agency warned pilots to avoid Ukraine in April

British, European and U.S. aircraft banned from overflying the warzone

Airspace 'was not subject to restrictions' according to airline industry group

Boeing 77 was just 300 metres above minimum

Crash investigators will probe the aircraft's flight plan following the disaster

  • Aviation experts fear the jet entered the warzone to save burning fuel  


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