MH17 was on established airway: Ukrainian commission

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Ukrainian investigators believe the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER which crashed in the east of the country had been flying an established route.

The state commission supporting the inquiry says that an international working group including European Aviation Safety Agency and UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch specialists had been examining aspects of flight MH17’s navigation.

It states that analysis of data from automatic dependent surveillance (ADS-B) transmissions and ground radar confirms that the aircraft was operating in Ukrainian airspace within an established air traffic services route.

While investigators have yet to conclude that a missile brought down MH17, this remains the most prominent theory at government levels.

But there is no clear indication why the 777 might have been singled out for attack.

Although the Ukrainian commission says the aircraft was operating along a known route, preliminary ADS-B transmission evidence suggests that – unlike preceding flights – the aircraft was offset to the left of the track by around 13km, possibly related to thunderstorm activity near Dnipropetrovsk.

Flight-data recorder analysis, being undertaken in the UK, has still to confirm the track and position of MH17 at the time.

Russia’s defence ministry had highlighted a “deviation” of 14km in the aircraft’s track in an otherwise-confusing account of the event.

While this appears consistent with the surveillance data evidence, and a recording from its own Rostov air traffic centre radar, the ministry has only offered navigation error or air traffic control instruction as possible explanations.