07:33 GMT28 January 2020
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    MH17 Crash Investigation (252)

    Politicians, intelligence officials and bodies responsible for monitoring airspace safety in Europe and Kiev were aware that civilian planes had to be diverted away from Ukraine before the MH17 crash but chose not to do so, Die Zeit reported.

    Europeans were partially blinded by politics and diplomacy, while Kiev to an extent acted out of greed, the influential German weekly added.

    The newspaper listed those responsible for determining whether the airspace above Ukraine was safe for flight with regard to the MH17 tragedy. These include the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia itself as the home country of the company which operated the flight.

    "Were the responsible authorities [in Kiev] positioned to decide [whether airspace above 10,000 feet was safe]?" Die Zeit asked. "Possibly not. A war-torn country has many worries: the safety of civilian planes is probably not a priority."


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    One could argue that keeping people safe, especially those who have nothing to do with what was and still is happening in Ukraine, is a concern that has to be addressed even if it was not a priority. Lawyers representing relatives of the MH17 victims seem to share this sentiment. They insist that Ukraine left its airspace open in order not to lose overflight fees.

    The newspaper maintains that unlike Kiev and Europe, neither Malaysia Airlines nor Kuala Lumpur had all the information needed to convince them to introduce changes in their route map. Some airline companies diverted their planes away from Ukraine's airspace. Others did not want to incur additional losses and extend flight hours in a situation when they were not fully aware of the dangers.

    For their part, Europeans knew what was happening.

    "European intelligence services, diplomats and politicians were better positioned to asses risks with regard to Ukraine. They were closely monitoring the escalation of fighting but did not draw conclusions as to what this meant for the safety of airline passengers because, as the Dutch Safety Board's report states, 'The focus was mainly on military activities, and the geopolitical consequences of the conflict,'" the newspaper noted.

    In other words, European capitals "were blind in one eye," as Die Zeit put it.

    Risk management in aviation safety has to be improved. One way of addressing the issue is by creating an independent international agency, which will monitor conflict-ridden areas, the newspaper noted. Markus Wahl, a spokesman for German pilots' union Cockpit, is a vocal advocate of this approach. He also believes that the organization will have to gain access to military intelligence worldwide and will be able to close flight corridors for all airlines.

    MH17 Crash Investigation (252)


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    Plane crash, flight safety, airspace, MH17 Crash, Malaysia Airlines, Europe, Ukraine
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