Singapore tells airlines to review conflict zone risk assessment

Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:44am EDT
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By Anshuman Daga and Siva Govindasamy

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 (Reuters) - Singapore's civil aviation authority has asked airlines based in the city-state to review their risk assessment of conflict zones following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner over Ukraine last week.

The deaths of nearly 300 passengers and crew in the downing of Flight MH17 have shocked the aviation industry and prompted calls for a re-think on assessing the threat to planes flying thousands of metres above fighting on the ground.

Before the shooting down of the jet, which Western governments have blamed on Russian-backed separatists, the flight path it was following across eastern Ukraine was heavily used by airlines plying busy routes between Europe and Asia.

Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) was one of the heaviest users of the route in the week before the crash, along with other international carriers such as Lufthansa, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways and KLM.

"We note that following the MH17 incident, SIA had immediately re-routed their flights to avoid Ukrainian airspace," said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in an emailed response to questions from Reuters.

"CAAS has also since asked Singapore carriers to review their risk assessment on conflict areas."