MH17 Incident: Malaysia Airline Media Statement 4; Friday, July 18, 08:20 PM GMT +0800

Media Statement 4: MH17 Incident

1.    Flight plan

MH17’s flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, who are solely responsible for determining civil aircraft flight paths over European airspace. Eurocontrol is the air navigation service provider for Europe and is governed under ICAO rules.

The route over Ukrainian airspace where the incident occurred is commonly used for Europe to Asia flights. 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. Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine.

In April, the International Civil Aviation Organization identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky. At no point did MH17 fly into, or request to fly into, this area. At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO.

2.    Altitude

MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000ft throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the ‘optimum’ altitude.

However, an aircraft’s altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000ft.

3.    Nationalities

Following this afternoon’s press conference, Malaysia Airlines can confirm that a further 16 passengers’ nationalities have been verified. The latest breakdown of nationalities of those on board the flight is as follows:

·         189 Netherlands

·         44 Malaysia

·         27 Australia

·         12 Indonensia

·         9 UK

·         4 Belgium

·         4 Germany

·         3 Philippines

·         1 Canada

·         1 New Zealand

Four passengers’ nationalities remain to be verified.

4.    New flight route

Following this incident, Malaysia Airlines now avoids Ukrainian airspace entirely, flying further south over Turkey.

Related Post:

Latest List Of Airspace And Airlines Affected/Closed as of 2130 GMT on Friday

Please click here for the the updated list of airspace and airport closed as of 1942 GMT Saturday.

Reuters reported that Eurocontrol said on Friday that lots of flights are cancelled because of the volcanic ash from Iceland.

This is a disaster.

The ash was expected to spread further south and east, Eurocontrol said.

Eurocontrol is the European aviation control agency.

Here is a list of countries affected as of 2130 GMT on Friday:

AUSTRIA – Austrian airspace was closed in stages on Friday and authorities said this was likely to continue into Saturday.

BELGIUM – Airspace closed until Saturday 0800 GMT.

BRITAIN – English and Welsh airspace is closed until 1200 GMT on Saturday. Limited flights from Scotland and Northern Ireland and a chance of arrivals and departures at Manchester and Liverpool during the morning.

BULGARIA – Sofia airport open but flights to Western Europe canceled.

DENMARK – Airspace closed until Saturday 0600 GMT.

EGYPT – Egypt canceled 15 flights to Europe on Friday, but Cairo international airport open.

ESTONIA – Airspace closed until Saturday 2400 GMT.

FINLAND – Airspace and airports closed until 1200 GMT on Sunday. Finnair will cancel all traffic until then.

FRANCE – Airports across northern France, including Paris, will remain closed until 1200 GMT on Saturday.

GERMANY – Germany’s airspace and all 16 of its airports will be closed until 1200 GMT.

GREECE – Greek airports were operating on Friday but about 85 flights to Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic were canceled.

HUNGARY – Hungary closed its airspace from 1700 GMT on Friday for 24 hours.

ITALY – Rome’s Fiumicino airport canceled 34 flights to northern Europe. Alitalia canceled all flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. Milan’s Malpensa airport expected to close on Saturday.

LATVIA – Airspace closed until Saturday, 0600 GMT.

LITHUANIA – All flights canceled and some airspace closed, but local media report air traffic control saying that airspace is technically still open.

LUXEMBOURG – Airspace closed until 1600 GMT.

NETHERLANDS – Airspace closed.

NORWAY – Closed for Friday.

POLAND – Only one airport, in the southeastern city of Rzeszow, was open after airspace over most of the country was closed.

ROMANIA – Bucharest main airport open, although about 60 flights to and from Western Europe were canceled on Friday. Air traffic administration will close three northwestern airports from midnight GMT.

RUSSIA – The airport in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad said it was closed to flights until at least 1700 GMT on Friday as the cloud of ash began spreading toward European parts of Russia. In Russia proper, no major airports closed so far.

SLOVAKIA – All commercial flights from Bratislava canceled since 1300 GMT Friday. Emergency, security and some small private flights continued.

SPAIN – Madrid airport open. Iberia has canceled all its flights to London, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Stockholm and Warsaw.

SWEDEN – Closed for Friday.

SWITZERLAND – Civil aviation authorities are temporarily closing Swiss airspace from midnight on Friday, when they expect the ash cloud to reach the country, until 0700 GMT on Saturday.

UKRAINE – Kiev’s Borispol airport open. Two Ukrainian airlines canceled about 11 west-bound flights on Friday.


BRITISH AIRWAYS – All flights canceled on Saturday.

RYANAIR – Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier cancels flights to and from northern European countries until 1200 GMT on Monday. Affects flights to and from Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, northern France, northern Germany, Poland and the Baltic states.

DELTA – Thirty-five flights from European Union countries to the United States canceled on Saturday.

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