Post MH17: Defending decisions, protocols for future

MH17

It seems an eternity ago since the news broke that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down whilst flying over the Ukraine.  However, just five days on, more stories emerge.

Malaysia Airlines defends decision to fly over zone

For Malaysia Airlines, the situation is harsh, however the carrier defends its decision to use the flight path that resulted in the incident.

In a statement released earlier, the airline said the route over where the disaster happened is commonly used for flights from Europe to Asia.

“A flight from a different carrier was on the same route at the time of the MH17 incident, as were a number of other flights from other carriers in the days and weeks before,” the statement read.

Pilots demand review of flight path protocols

At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into any area that was disapproved by Eurocontrol.  Flight MH17 was in airspace approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) at all times.

As aviation authorities deemed the area safe, pilots across the industry are calling for an investigation into the decision that eventually led to the fatal incident.

Pilots were told to fly above 32,000 feet while traveling over the Ukrainian warzone, yet MH17 was shot down at an altitude of 33,000 feet, not breaking recommendations made by Eurocontrol authorities.

Emirates call for post MH17 summit

Emirates president Tim Clark has called for a post MH17 meeting to discuss new protocols for flying over areas of regional or international conflicts.

Emirates wants to see an agreement made across the board and a unified response to the attack on the Malaysian Airlines’ aircraft.

The airline has also stated that national aviation regulators must become more involved in setting guidelines for travel in potentially dangerous airspace.

Warnings on airspace

Europe’s air safety agency now strongly recommends that flights avoid both eastern Ukraine and Crimean airspace following the MH17 incident.

The recommendation has been made due to the unsafe situation created by a conflict on the eastern border of Ukraine.

Ukraine have declared the east of its territory a no-fly zone, and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is advising Australian air operators to take into account safety notices regarding flights in the Ukraine region.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has stated in a release that although this is a terrible crime, flying remains safe and everyone involved in global air transport is fully dedicated to making it even safer.

Tragically, 298 people died on the flight, including passengers and crew members, and now the message from across the world is clear – someone needs to be held accountable for the deaths.

Source = ETB News: Lewis Wiseman
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