MH17: How Will It Impact Air Travel?

19th Jul 2014

‚ÄčThe global air travel industry is threatened anew with the most recent incident involving a Malaysian Airlines flight, which was believed to have been shot down by a missile while it was cruising over Ukrainian air space.

The MH17 flight was the second for the same airline this year believed to have been caused by a terrorist act. In March 8, 2014, flight MH370 mysteriously disappeared along with 239 passengers and crew on board, and never to be found again.

1. INDIAN AIRLINES: Both Air India and SpiceJet have canceled their Kabul flights after the MH17 incident. The airlines said that they will now follow a different path - away from Ukrainian air space. SpiceJet assured those who purchased tickets to Kabul will get a refund.

2. FOREIGN AIRLINES: Major airlines such as British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, Delta, Singapore Airlines, and Emirates among others now avoid flying over Ukraine. Asian carriers like Asiana, China Airlines, Qantas, and Korean Air have rerouted their flights already since the start of the Ukrainian conflict. Planes flying over Ukraine are down to as few as 100 from the previous 300 daily. The Ukrainian air space will probably be empty soon.

3. FLIGHT TIMES: Flight time between Asia and Europe, experts say, may extend by 20 minutes, on average, following a rerouting by airlines.

4. AIRFARES/BOOKINGS: Airlines may not necessarily increase their present airfare for the same routes prior to the incident. The rerouting may impact the aircraft's fuel consumption, but not that much to affect ticket cost. Major cancellations were not noticed in the aftermath of the incident.

5. NO MAN'S LAND: Authorities didn't officially declare the eastern region of Ukraine where flight MH17 was shot as unsafe for aircraft. Experts agree that the non-declaration was an error. Both Iraq and Syria are other sore spots in air travel that experts are closely monitoring. They are also looking into air spaces over Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan where most Indian flights fly through.

6. CARRIER INSURANCE: Experts agree that insurance premiums may increase for airlines as soon as they renew their policies with insurance companies. Insurance for Indian airlines, especially, may also go up. Airfares by Indian carriers may be possible over a medium term.

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