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Airlines defend flights over Ukraine

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But several of their flights were tracked over Ukraine as late as Wednesday, says aircraft-tracking website Flight Radar

Malaysia Airlines, Air India and other carriers who have flown their aircraft over Ukraine through weeks of conflict on Friday faced questions as to whether or not they had put their passengers at risk as it emerged that some airlines had stopped flights in the region.

The website Flight Radar that tracks aircraft globally has said that “Several airlines that have been tracked over Ukraine as late as yesterday (Thursday), claim they have been avoiding Ukraine for months.”

The comment in the wake of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 over the disputed airspace of eastern Ukraine on Friday came even as some airlines claimed that they had been avoiding Ukrainian airspace following the recent conflict.

Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, however, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that MH17’s flight path was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. He said “15 out of 16 airlines” in the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines had flown through this route.

His comments were, however, contradicted by at least three of the association’s other members: Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines said they had, in recent weeks, stopped flights through Ukraine. Questions will be raised as to why the ICAO chose not to put out a stronger advisory.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 2:30:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/airlines-defend-flights-over-ukraine/article6226686.ece

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