Fears lead to rising demands for route maps after MH17

By Kevin Rozario |

Following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines MH 17 over eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on board, consumer demands are growing for more information on their flight routings.

 

US-based FlyersRights.org, the country’s largest non-profit airline passenger organisation, has called on all airlines to provide customers on international flights with detailed route maps on their web sites, so passengers can decide for themselves whether to take what they might perceive as high-risk flights.

 

Perceptions have changed dramatically since MH 17 was shot down – and airlines may not even be in the best positon to assess what or where is ‘high-risk’. When aviation bodies ICAO, IATA, ACI and CANSO met yesterday to discuss the issue of attacks on civil aviation, Tony Tyler (left), IATA’s Director General and CEO noted: “We were told that flights traversing Ukraine’s territory at above 32,000 feet would not be in harm’s way. We now know how wrong that guidance was. It is essential that airlines receive clear guidance regarding threats to their passengers, crew and aircraft.”

 

In the meantime Paul Hudson (right), FlyersRights.org’s President and long-time member of the Federal Aviation Administration and TSA advisory committees on aviation safety and security states: “Airlines should no longer be able to hide behind weak and ambiguous international regulation and confidential warnings that are not shared with passengers.

 

“After the bombing of PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, it came to light that governments and airlines had received specific warnings of a likely bombing, but chose to hide this knowledge from passengers and flight crews – those actually at risk. Now it has been revealed that some airlines were flying over eastern Ukraine despite danger warnings that were not shared with passengers.

 

“Today, despite known dangers and the MH 17 shoot down, passengers are not being informed of dangerous flights over or near numerous conflict zones with missile systems capable of shooting down commercial airliners at over 30,000 feet.”

 

OTHER HIGH-RISK AREAS

The consumer organisation lists a number of what it describes as high-risk areas and they include Ukraine and Russia, Syria, Iraq, Egypt-Sinai, the China Sea, North Korea, Libya, Yemen, Mali and the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Hudson adds: “Many of these highly conflicted areas are known to have anti-aircraft weapons deployed that are capable of downing virtually any commercial aircraft.”

 

FlyersRights.org is also critical of the aviation bodies mentioned above. In a statement it says: “This week, an emergency meeting of the UN International Civil Aeronautics Organization (ICAO) is being held to discuss the situation, but passenger representatives have unfortunately again been excluded from meetings between airlines and regulators, as they were previously after the mysterious disappearance of another Malaysian airliner over the Indian Ocean.”

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