Syria fly-over sparks fresh criticism of Malaysia Airlines

Kuala Lumpur – Embattled Malaysia Airlines faced fresh outrage Tuesday as it confirmed one of its planes flew over war-torn Syria, just days after the MH17 disaster laid bare the risks civilian aircraft face in flying over war zones.

The Malaysian flag carrier confirmed that flight MH4, bound from London for Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, re-routed over Syria following the closure of the flight's usual route over Ukraine in the wake of the MH17 tragedy three days earlier.

In a statement issued late Monday, the crisis-hit airline said the Syrian flight path was among routes approved by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

''As per the notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Syrian Civil Aviation Authority, the Syrian airspace was not subject to restrictions. At all times, MH004 was in airspace approved by ICAO,'' it said.

But the move drew disbelief and scorn on social media.

''What is wrong with these guys?! Malaysians are now flying over Syria,'' said one of many Twitter postings on the issue.

''Wanna lose another plane?'' asked another.

Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine – where a violent rebellion has raged for months – have been accused of shooting down MH17, killing all 298 aboard in a tragedy that has triggered world outrage.

Syria has been convulsed by a far more bloody civil war since 2011.

The airlines and Malaysia's government have previously defended MH17's flight path over Ukraine.

They cited ICAO clearance for the route, and noted that several major carriers used the well-traveled Europe-Asia path up until the MH17 attack, though some other airlines had abandoned it months ago.

Air traffic tracking site Flightradar24 first reported MH4's flight path on its Twitter feed Monday.

''As far as we have seen #MH4 was the only transcontinental flight going over Syria,'' it said.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) did not respond to AFP queries on whether the airline would continue to use the Syria route.

But Flightradar24 data showed that the path of MH4 on Monday – a day after the Syria flyover – skirted just east of Syrian airspace, over Turkey.

Airlines seek the most direct routes possible to minimize flight time and fuel costs, but MH17, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, has spectacularly highlighted the potential risks of flying over world hotspots.

Besides Syria and Ukraine, fighting in areas such as Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East make it difficult to find conflict-free routes for already congested air traffic.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief Tony Tyler issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the MH17 attack and defending Malaysia Airlines.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options