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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Australian, Korean airlines shifted Ukrainian flight routes months ago

Published on Jul 18, 2014 10:58 AM

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Some international airlines, including Australia's Qantas Airways and Korea's two major carriers, shifted the route taken by flights operating over Ukrainian air space months ago amid increasing tensions between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels.

The airlines took extra security precautions despite no official ban from regulators on flying through the area, even as others continued to use the route. "Although the detour adds to flight time and cost, we have been making the detour for safety, and until the Ukrainian situation is over we will continue to take the detour route for our cargo flight out of Brussels," an Asiana Airlines Inc spokeswoman told Reuters.

A Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) plane was brought down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, in what the United States said was probably a ground-launched missile strike.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it appeared that"Russian-backed rebels" were responsible.

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