|EX-YU airlines take action following loss of flight MH17|
EX-YU carriers have responded to last Thursday’s tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur near the Ukraine-Russia boarder, believed to have been shot down with a Buk surface to air missile, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board. The national carriers of Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro say they are now avoiding Ukrainian airspace until further notice. On the other hand, Croatian and Serbian air traffic control is prepared to handle additional aircraft as most international airlines bypass Ukraine, which has lead to busy flight paths in the region, particularly in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
Adria Airways says none of its flights have been forced to reroute since they do not fly near the Donetsk region where the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed. The Slovenian carrier said it issued an advisory to its pilots back in April to avoid the airspace under Simferopol flight control in case its jets have to fly over Ukraine. Meanwhile, Air Serbia issued a statement saying, “In light of current events and the Malaysia Airlines disaster on Ukrainian territory, we inform that we no longer fly through Ukrainian airspace. Air Serbia flights will continue to operate according to schedule”. The carrier's last flight over Ukraine was operated on Friday afternoon, away from the conflict zone, after which all services were rerouted. Earlier this year the Serbian carrier cancelled plans to launch flights to the Ukrainian capital Kiev due to security concerns. At the time, the airline’s CEO, Dane Kondić, said, “The safety of our guests and crew is paramount to the airline”. Montenegro Airlines operated its last flight through Ukraine’s airspace on Friday, however, nowhere near the country’s boarder with Russia where fighting between the military and separatists has been intensifying over the past few weeks. The carrier has since said its Russia bound flights will now avoid Ukraine in accordance with Eurocotrnol guidelines, which regulates European airspace. All flight plans that are filed using flight paths above eastern Ukraine are now being rejected by Eurocotnrol. The routes will remain closed until further notice.
|Most airlines avoiding Ukraine's airspace|
Croatian Air Traffic Control has said it is prepared to take on extra traffic as airlines avoid Ukraine’s airspace altogether. It noted it is already dealing with busy skies as the height of the summer season approaches. On the day of the Malaysia Airlines crash, Croatia Air Traffic Control handled 2.074 aircraft. Its 24-hour record stands at 2.520 jets. Similarly, the Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services Agency (SMATSA) is prepared to cope with extra traffic. SMATSA CEO, Radojica Rovčanin, said, “SMATSA won’t have any trouble handling and guiding an increased number of aircraft as we have sufficient capacity to do so. Currently, an average of 2.230 aircraft fly over Serbia and Montenegro, while this figure sometimes reaches up to 2.600”.