Malaysia Airlines has caused consternation by diverting a flight over Syrian airspace just days after the shoot down of MH17.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) July 21, 2014
Having re-routed flights from eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of last week’s deadly tragedy, the company has chosen instead to divert some of its planes over airspace which is even more dangerous.
Data from Flight Radar 24 shows that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH4, an Airbus A380 flying from Kuala Lumpur to London, was diverted from its usual route over Ukraine in favor of passing over a country that is currently under siege by ISIS terrorists, some of whom are armed with U.S.-made Stinger missiles.
A U.S. intelligence report last month concluded that it “appears likely/probable” that ISIS insurgents are armed with shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles designed to bring down aircraft. According to estimates, ISIS now controls 35 per cent of Syrian territory.
A May 2013 Federal Aviation Administration notice “strongly discourages” US operators from flying over Syrian airspace.
Malaysia AIrlines’ decision is likely to spark a fresh wave of criticism given that the operator ignored a similar FAA warning dating back to April which prohibits US carriers from flying over Ukraine.
Questions have abounded as to why flight MH17 pilots decided to overfly eastern Ukraine when most other major airlines have avoided the airspace for months.
Data shows that MH17’s previous ten flight paths before the shoot down avoided eastern Ukraine entirely. MH17 pilots on the doomed airliner filed a flight path requesting to fly at 35,000 feet over Ukrainian territory, but were subsequently ordered by local air traffic control to lower their altitude to 33,000 feet to avoid other traffic.
Another facet to the mystery is that, according to Iranian defense expert Babak Taghvaee, flight MH17 may have been escorted by Ukrainian fighter jets.