The Malay Mail Online
July 18, 2014
SEOUL, July 18 ― The Malaysian airliner apparently shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine was flying over airspace that a number of other Asian carriers abandoned months ago because of security concerns.
South Korea’s two main airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, as well as Australia’s Qantas said they all rerouted flights from as early as the beginning of March when Russian troops moved into Crimea.
“We stopped flying over Ukraine because of safety concerns,” Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyo-Min said.
Korean Air re-routed its flights 250 kilometres (160 miles) south of Ukraine “due to the political unrest in the region”, an official for the carrier told AFP.
A Qantas spokeswoman said its London to Dubai service used to fly over Ukraine, but the route was changed “several months ago”.
Quizzed as to why Malaysia Airlines had not taken similar precautions, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said earlier today that international air authorities had deemed the flight path secure.
“The aircraft’s flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. And (the) International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions,” he said.
Other Asian carriers such as Indonesia’s Garuda, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said their routes had never crossed Ukraine. ― AFP