When Minister of Transportion, Dato Liow Tiong Lai was giving his statement to the press yesterday, the TV and PC was set on CNN and Free Malaysia Today.
The important Liow's quote was:
"The flight path taken by MH17 was approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and by the countries whose airspace the route passed through. And the International Air Transportation Association has also stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was unrestricted.It didn't take an hour for CNN to brush off the Minister report and had a so-called expert to comment and accused MAS for not taking the precaution. FMT published a doubt creating article, "Why were commercial planes still flying over Ukraine?" at 5:32 PM.
15 out of 16 airlines in the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines fly this route over Ukraine. European airlines also use the same route, and traverse the same airspace. In the hours before the incident, a number of other passenger aircraft from different carriers used the same route.
There were no last minute instructions given to the pilots of MH17 to change the route of the flight."
FMT refused to acknowledge Liow's explanation by producing the AFP article. Perhaps they did not come cross The Washington Post report below:
Air route above eastern Ukraine is a popular pathway between Europe and AsiaIf the intention is to accuse MAS as being negligent, Liow's answered that there is no instruction to the pilot to change route.
The route on which the Malaysia Airlines plane was struck is a primary pathway between Europe and Asia. (Joe Pries/AP)
By Ashley Halsey III July 17 at 9:08 PM
The route that carries a dozen planes an hour high above eastern Ukraine is so popular it has a name: airway L980.
It is a primary pathway between the capitals of Europe and the mega-cities of Asia — Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Singapore.
Although the skies seem like a boundless, borderless domain, the paths flown by commercial aircraft are well beaten, constricted by a desire to conserve fuel and a system of waypoints that stand like figurative mileposts at 35,000 feet.
“Typically, that flight plan doesn’t change much,” said Kees Rietsema, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Phoenix. “If that airline flies every day from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, they fly the same route every day.”
The only variation — and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 flew about 200 miles north of its normal path Thursday — would be if the pilot encounters bad weather, he said.
“The airline is responsible for planning the route of an airplane, not the pilot,” Rietsema said. “The airline stays abreast” of notifications and warnings.
And the airline would assess the risk of flying over areas of conflict.
“Airlines overfly conflicted areas all the time, whether it’s in the Middle East or wherever it might be,” said Rietsema, an Air Force veteran and former commercial pilot who also served as a staff member at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“From a strictly legal perspective, you can overfly that closed airspace and there’s no one telling you you can’t be there, but on the other hand I would say that you also are assuming the risk on your own that something untoward could happen.”
By late Thursday, that aviation highway over Ukraine was empty, abandoned for fear that a missile fired from the conflicted territory below might take down another aircraft. Dozens of flights between Europe and Asia will be re-routed from airway L980 on Friday, and probably for weeks to come.
But until Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, flying its daily route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was struck from the sky Thursday, it was business as usual on airway L980. U.S. intelligence said the plane, with 298 people on board, was brought down by an antiaircraft missile.
“It’s an established route and there’s no war declared,” said Robert Benzon, a former investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board. “There are commercial planes flying in and out of Iraq all the time.”
Much as the Federal Aviation Administration controls and regulates domestic flights, its counterpart Eurocontrol has authority over the airspace in 40 European nations, including Ukraine.
Eurocontrol said the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was flying at 33,000 feet when it apparently was hit by a missile. The agency said Ukrainian authorities on Monday closed airspace up to 32,000 feet for commercial flights. After the crash Thursday, Ukraine banned all overflights of the eastern part of the country.
Brian Flynn, a spokesman for Eurocontrol, said airspace up to 26,000 feet had been closed since July 1. In both cases, the closures came after rebels shot down Ukrainian military aircraft.
The FAA said Thursday that U.S. airlines had agreed not to pass over the Russian-Ukraine border following the crash.
Before Thursday’s crash, about 300 commercial flights a day flew at cruising altitude above eastern Ukraine headed between Europe and Asia. Most of them fly over another conflicted nation — Afghanistan — as well. For example, other Malaysia Airlines flights passed over Ukraine on Thursday, as did aircraft flown by Singapore Airlines and Air France. British Airways routes some of its Asia-bound flights to the north of Ukraine and some to the south.
As the conflict escalated in Ukraine and Russia took control of Crimea, airlines were told not to fly over that part of Ukraine. The FAA issued a warning to U.S. airlines in April, and the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, cautioned that competition between Russian and Ukrainian air-traffic controllers had created an unsafe situation.
As CNN was on a path steadfast to bury MAS, Singapore Airline was trying to downplay their presence near the MAS shooting in The Straits Times, Singapore's noon news yesterday:
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: SIA stops flights over UkraineThe morning news of The Strait Times, Singapore was shocking. It would have shamed DAP leader, Lim Kit Siang for his allegation against MAS, thus for a sudden change in stance later to call for unity [read FMT here].
Published on Jul 18, 2014 12:00 PM
By Karamjit Kaur, Aviation Correspondent
SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines has stopped all flights over Ukraine, following the crash of a Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in the country's eastern region.
"We generally have a number of pre-existing flight paths for our flights to and from the destinations that we are operating to," a spokesman told The Straits Times on Friday. "At this point, we are no longer using Ukrainian airspace and have re-routed all our flights to alternative flight paths that are away from the region."
SIA did not elaborate on the revised flight paths, added the spokesman. "In line with aviation safety and security protocols, we will however not provide specific information on the flight path of any particular flight prior to flight departure," she added.
Singapore's national carrier also did not comment either on reports that flight SQ351 from Copenhagen, Denmark, which was flying over the area at the time was about 25km away from flight MH17 when it was allegedly shot down.
Sources, however told The Straits Times that the SIA flight was "pretty close."
There were 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board MH17, when it was apparently shot down and crashed while crossing above a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting forces controlled by the government in the capital Kiev.
The ST morning report yesterday, below:
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Singapore Airlines plane SQ351 was about 25km awayIn the picture, clearly there were 15 other airplanes in the vicinity. Singapore Airlines had only changed slightly their flight routes but still maintaining a low fuel route still not to far from the trouble spot.
Published on Jul 18, 2014 8:46 AM
Singapore Airlines SQ351 (B777) and Air India AI113 (B787) were about 25 km from Malaysian Airlines MH17 when it disappeared. -- PHOTO: FLIGHTRADAR24/TWITTER
A Singapore Airlines flight was within 25 kilometres of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it lost contact with air traffic controllers and crashed near the Russian border with Ukraine, according to a website that tracks global aircraft in real time.
According to flightradar24.com, Singapore Airlines SQ351, a Boeing 777, and Air India AI113, a Boeing 787, were about within 15 miles (25 kilometres) of MH17 when the Boeing 777 disappeared and crashed after presumably being shot down.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 disappeared from radar screens in eastern Ukraine at around 1415 GMT (10.15pm Singapore time), the carrier said on its Twitter account, hours after the Boeing 777, bound for Kuala Lumpur, had taken off from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. There were 298 people on board.
The route from SIA tracking website, Flight Aware here shows the SIA route which is the similar "risky route" taken by MAS for Amsterdam to Singapore with both Airline using the same Boeing 777-200 for their 17th and 18th departure flight, below:
The 17th flight was still traversing southern Ukraine.
SIA only changed their route away to the south of the Black Sea from the now announced trouble spot yesterday 18th.
The day before it was the same route taken by MAS. SQ 323 was only 30 minutes ahead of MAS.
|Richard Quest on SIA's A380 inaugral flight|
So why then is CNN viciously singling out the victim MAS but spared Singapore Airline from the same accusation of negligent? Is it because Richard Quest had once gave a rave review of Singapore Airlines? Or is it because MAS is seen as more vulnerable to be a trophy of media victim?
Maybe Quest could not get his way with a pretty MAS stewardess when he was either stoned on alcohol or drugs. He managed to do so on SIA's free complimentary 1st class.