MH17: Carriers act to avoid eastern Ukrainian airspace

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Several airlines have declared that they will route flights around eastern Ukraine following the loss of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

While a hostile act has not been proven, the loss of the aircraft in a conflict region – about which carriers have been warned – has prompted a number of operators to take action.

Air France says it has “decided not to fly over eastern Ukraine” in the wake of the loss of flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

It had already stopped flying over the Crimea region, on 3 April, following uncertainty over safety of airspace in the wake of the political unrest in the area.

Spanish budget airline Vueling says it will avoid Ukrainian airspace “for the time being”.

KLM, which had codeshared on the affected flight, says it is avoiding flying over the territory concerned as a “precautionary measure”.

British Airways has reportedly put its flight to Kiev under review, but points out that this operates at considerable distance from the eastern region.

The European Cockpit Association says the route being flown by Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH17 is “the most common” for services between Europe and southeast Asia.

It says European authorities should “take immediate measures to secure all the flights overflying that region”.