Malaysia Airlines planes avoiding Ukraine, flying over Syria and Iraq instead

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 22 July 2014 13:40
The purple line shows MH4's flight path on 20 July 2014

Malaysia Airlines planes have been flying over war zones in Iraq and Syria, rather than Ukraine, in the days since the MH17 crash.

Images from Flight Radar 24 show Malaysia Airlines flight MH4 flying over the cities of Homs in Syria and the Isis-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq while travelling between London and Kuala Lumpur.

The flight path of MH4 on 21st July 2014 (Picture: Flight Radar 24)

Malaysia Airlines use flight paths approved by Eurocontrol, a European air navigation agency, who said after MH17 was shut down last week that all flight paths over Ukrainian airspace had been suspended by the local government until further notice.

The airline confirmed on their website on Monday that the flight path over Syria is "in accordance to International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) approved routes... the Syrian airspace was not subject to restrictions".

This satellite data shows MH4 flying through Syrian airspace (Picture: Flight Radar 24)

The new flight paths show the inherent difficulty for airlines when travelling through the Middle East region where there is virtually no route from East to West without that avoids potentially hostile territory.