Malaysia Airlines Reroutes Flights Away From Turbulent Caspian Sea

14th Oct 2015

Malaysia Airlines passengers traveling in and out of Europe will soon start taking a longer, but probably safer route if their plane’s path takes them above the Caspian Sea. The carrier made this decision after receiving an advisory from European regulators, which stated that Russian missiles targeting Syria are being fired from the Caspian Sea.

Qantas and Others Not Changing Routes, Despite Warnings

Unlike MAB, some other airlines, including Australian Qantas Airways, are pretty much ignoring the warning and are continuing their normally scheduled flight.

Qantas Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said:

If there was a problem, and it does turn into being a problem, Qantas will not be flying aircraft through that airspace. But the information that we have it is safe to do so and I should point out after 95 years of operations, Qantas has a reputation as the safest airline in the world. We take that reputation unbelievably seriously.

The Flying Kangaroo operates two daily flights between London and Dubai. The Airbus A380 travels at about 39,000 feet, which is tens of thousands of feet higher than Russian LR cruise missiles, which fly at several hundred feet.

MH17 Experience Taught Malaysia Airlines a Hard Lesson

Of course, Qantas never had an experience like Malaysia Airlines had in July last year, when its Boeing 777-200ER flight MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by missile fire over the same region, killing all 298 people on board.

Last Tuesday, an investigation from the Dutch Safety Board concluded the missile was fired from a Russian surface-to-air system.

A spokeswoman for MAB said the carrier’s priority was safety:

Based on current adverse activities over the airspace of the Caspian Sea, we have decided to reroute flights into and out of Europe.

According to the Dutch Safety Board report, in the three days before MH17 was shot down, 61 carriers from 32 countries were flying over the same area, even though they knew the region is a war-zone.

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