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Indian flights asked to avoid Ukranian airspace

Fire engines arrive at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, as the sun sets Thursday, July 17, 2014.

Fire engines arrive at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Hrabove, Ukraine, as the sun sets Thursday, July 17, 2014.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special flight and hundreds of other flights were diverted from the flight path over which the Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down

Indian civil aviation authorities have ordered rerouting of its Europe and US-bound flights to avoid Ukrainian airspace following the Malaysian Airlines plane crash even as Thursday’s attack at Kabul airport has led to flights being diverted to other cities.

“We have issued orders that all flights will avoid Ukraine airspace. The safety of the passengers is paramount,” said Air India chairman Rohit Nandan in a text message. This was followed up by a Ministry of Civil Aviation statement.

The Ministry, however, denied reports from an airline tracking website that claimed that an Air India flight was 24 kms away when the Malaysian airline was shot down in Ukrainian airspace.

Air India and Jet Airways are already giving parts of eastern Ukraine a wide berth to avoid getting entangled in any conflict as Russian and Ukrainian civil aviation authorities are laying claim over the portion of the flight path in the vicinity of Crimea, a peninsula belonging to Ukraine but annexed recently by Russia. “None of our flights to and from Europe fly through the Ukrainian airspace ever since the conflict began. We continue to avoid the Ukrainian airspace,” a Jet Airways official said.

 

Indian civil authorities issued instructions to avoid Ukraine airspace shortly after Eurocontrol, the European flight safety body, closed airspace in Eastern Ukraine to all airline flights. Prime Minister Narender Modi’s special flight and hundreds of other flights were rerouted from the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines’ flight path.

India also issued security measures following the attack on Kabul International airport on Thursday. SpiceJet has temporarily suspended flights to and from Kabul. In a fortnight, Kabul airport has seen two rocket attacks and SpiceJet does not want to take any chances.

The missile attack on the Malaysian Airlines aircraft has highlighted the risks to passengers when airliners fly over conflict zones, said experts calling for concerted global effort to curb any possible menace.

They said the fatal incident involving Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 could happen to any other airline in conflict zones of Iraq, Afghanistan and even Pakistan where terrorists could deploy similar warfare to bring down passenger planes.

The Malaysia Airline plane crash, the second in five months, has, however, not impacted air traffic to Malaysia and Europe, top travel firm executives said, adding that they had not seen any major cancellation.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 3:26:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/indian-flights-asked-to-avoid-ukranian-airspace/article6224309.ece

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