PAL flights avoid Ukraine airspace after MH-17 crash

National flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has reassured passengers that it does not fly over Ukrainian airspace in the wake of the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 in eastern Ukraine.

A Philippine Airlines Airbus A330 on approach to Davao International Airport. (Photo by Manuel Nierra via Philippine PlaneSpotters Group)

The disaster claimed the lives of 298 passengers, including three Filipinos.

Ramon S. Ang, PAL President and CEO, emphasized that the carrier's Manila to London flights do not traverse eastern Ukraine, the area where flight MH-17 was reportedly shot down by pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels.

An airline official said:

We comply with all safety advisories covering allowed flight routes, areas of restriction or conflict areas, and all other related matters governing flight paths.

The airline confirmed that its Manila-London-Manila flights maintain a route through Southeast Asia, the Indian continent, Turkey, the Middle East, and Europe, keeping a safe distance from the no-fly zone established in the conflict region.

Moreover, Ang revealed that PAL is exploring the possibility of utilizing airspace over Russia for its Manila to London flights.

Carmelo Arcilla, Executive Director of the Civil Aeronautics Board, clarified that the carrier currently lacks the necessary overflight rights to fly over Russian territory.

Meanwhile, PAL expressed deep condolences for the victims of flight MH17:

We wish to convey our heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims of this tragic incident and join the rest of the world in praying for those who were lost, as well as their loved ones.