News World Airlines to reconsider routes

Airlines to reconsider routes
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Flights heading out of Europe into South East Asia are being rerouted to avoid Ukrainian airspace following the tragedy of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by a surface-to-air-missile.

In the wake of the disaster, which killed 298 passengers, Euro Control and the Federal Aviation Administration issued warnings to airlines and advised against flying in eastern Ukraine airspace.

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The Ukrainian government has also completely closed down its airspace, meaning no airliners can fly over the country.

“We haven’t heard of any major changes to flights and flight time for passengers,” Liz Young, director from Travel Avenue based in Melbourne, said.

Baggage strewn across a Ukrainian field. Photo: Getty

George Hobica, from Airfare Watchdog, told Yahoo News the affects of all the rerouting will most likely be a 15 to 30 minute change with no additional fuel costs reflected on ticket pricing.

Airliners that have rerouted current flights over the area, which is a common route to South East Asia via Europe, are as follows:

• Air France
• Lufthansa
• Virgin
• Transaero
• Turkish Airlines
• Aeroflot
• British Airways
• Delta Airlines
• Emirates Airlines
• Singapore Air

Some airlines, have already been avoiding the airspace, such as Qantas and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Dubai based Etihad and Dutch Carrier KLM.

All US airlines also voluntary took the advice of the FAA to avoid Ukrainian airspace, as it has become an embattled war zone between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military.

Pieces of wreckage at the crash site. Photo: AAP

Despite warnings from various aviation safety bodies from the United Kingdom and the United States to avoid Ukrainian airspace, airliners were still flying over the country prior to the recent event.

Following the incident, which among the dead were 27 Australians, Qantas Airways Limited issued a response and said: “There are no changes to Qantas operations as a result of the Malaysia Airlines incident.”

According a Qantas spokesperson, its flights from London to Dubai are well beyond Ukrainian airspace, at a distance of 400 nautical miles south of the region.

Qantas had also stopped flying over the area, around two months ago, according to the spokesperson.

Virgin Australia also issued a statement saying it “does not fly to Europe and our flights are currently operating as scheduled.”

The statement also said any codeshare partners with Virgin Australia, “will not be flying over Ukrainian airspace.”

It added that safety was its biggest priority and it will monitor the situation.