Malaysia Airlines defends MH17 flight plan
Malaysia Airlines suggested that Eurocontrol should take responsibility for the flight plan of MH17, which crashed in Ukraine on Thursday and killed 298 people including 189 Dutch nationals.
In a statement, it said "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".
Following the Thursday crash, the airline was attacked for flying over the conflict-area airspace.
"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."
Following this incident, Malaysia Airlines now avoids Ukrainian airspace entirely, flying further south over Turkey.
In the statement, the airline confirmed that 16 more 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.