This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Airlines Flew Over Ukraine Until Malaysia Crash Despite Danger Signs

Amsterdam (TheStreet) -- Star-crossed Malaysia Airlines suffered its second fatal accident in five months, apparently because it flew into dangerous air space where flying had not been banned, even though the Federal Aviation Administration warned against flying in nearby Crimea two months earlier.

Malaysia Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was apparently shot down in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, killing all 295 people aboard. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko blamed a "terrorist act." Both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels in the area denied involvement.

Within hours after the crash, at least three European airlines said they had ceased flying over the area.

Boeing 747 Fades Out But Lufthansa Flies a Fresh One to JFK

Five Worst U.S. Airlines of All Time

United Should Close Dulles Hub, Analyst Says, as He Cuts Rating

On May 3, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice to airmen prohibiting flight operations in Ukrainian airspace "over the Crimean Peninsula and the associated Ukrainian territorial sea, as well as international airspace managed by Ukraine over the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov."

The area is scores of miles from the area where Flight 17 was shot down. The FAA notice prohibited flying by U.S. airlines, U.S. commercial operations and, with narrow exceptions, pilots certified in the U.S.

The FAA notice was issued not because of a terrorist threat, but rather because of "the potential for civil aircraft to receive confusing and conflicting air traffic control instructions from both Ukrainian and Russian (air traffic control) providers."

The dispute meant that flying in the region "is unsafe and presents a potential hazard to civil flight operations in the disputed airspace," the FAA said.

Malaysia is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which includes American (AAL - Get Report), but American did not codeshare on Flight 17 and had no code-share passengers on the flight, a spokesman said.

The primary codeshare partner on the flight was KLM, a member of the Skyteam alliance.

"It is with great regret that KLM has learnt about the accident with flight MH17, codeshare KL4103, of Malaysia Airlines from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur," KLM said Thursday in a prepared statement. "As a precautionary measure KLM avoids flying over the concerned territory."

Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt said: "Up to now there has been no closure of Ukrainian airspace, (but) Lufthansa has decided to fly a wide detour around east Ukrainian airspace with immediate effect.

"The safety of our passengers is our top priority," Haupt said. "A total of four flights are affected today. Presently no restrictions apply to the Lufthansa destinations Kiev and Odessa."

Air France also said Thursday that it will avoid Ukrainian airspace, according to reports.

"The entire airline industry may have seriously misjudged its decisions to fly over Ukrainian air space," aviation consultant Bob Mann said Thursday. "Given hostilities that seemingly escalate every day, I wonder whether anybody will still be overflying the Ukraine tomorrow."

Mann, formerly an executive at Tower Air, noted that Tower, of its own accord, ceased flying over Iran in the mid 1990s. "It cost us 30 minutes of flying time and 6,000 gallons of fuel on each trip from Amsterdam to Delhi or Bombay, but we didn't want to have to divert to Tehran if something happened," he said.

Shares in major U.S. airlines were falling Thursday in mid-afternoon trading. Shares of American were down 99 cents to $42.49. Shares of Delta (DAL - Get Report) were down 98 cents to $36.89. Shares of United (UAL) were down $1.15 to $43.78.

In a note, S&P Capital IQ airline analyst Jim Corridore said that while the stocks are down, "we see little specific impact to U.S. airline stocks.

"We expect U.S. airlines to avoid flying to or near Ukraine, but this is a very small part of their overall flying," Corridore wrote. "Should relations between the U.S. and Russia sour further in the aftermath of this news, we still see limited impact on U.S. airlines."

Thursday is the anniversary of another crash involving an international flight. TWA Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on July 17, 1996, shortly after taking off from JFK for Rome, with a scheduled stop in Paris.

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

To contact this writer, click here.

Follow @tedreednc

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAL $34.69 0.00%
DAL $41.67 0.00%
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs