Kazakh airlines to cease using Ukraine airspace19 july 2014, 00:37
Kazakhstani airlines have been advised against flying over Ukraine, Tengrinews reports citing the deputy head of the Committee of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Kazakhstan Serik Mukhtybayev.
"Regarding the Kazakhstani airlines that fly using the airspace of Ukraine: we are advising them not to use Ukrainian airspace until the causes of the catastrophe are determined. Yesterday, Air Astana ceased flights [involving Ukrainian air space], consulations are ongoing. I think that in the near future Eurocontrol, aviation authorities of Ukraine and the International Aviation Committee will give their recommendations on the possibility of using the airspace of Ukraine," he said.
Mukhtybayev said that Eurocontrol had closed the zone over south-east of Ukraine. The zone used to be open for flights at high altitude only, but now the zone has been closed off completely, he said. “Now this zone is bypassed by everyone. Yesterday's flight of Air Astana was canceled and now the decision needs to be made about the Sunday flight. Kazakhstani airlines are recommended to abstain from using the airspace of Ukraine,” he said.
Mukhtybayev stated that Air Astana was almost the only airline making flights in the direction of Ukraine, with an exception of several charter flights done by other companies.
The president of Air Astana Peter Foster also spoke about the recent tragedy. At a briefing in Almaty he said that the recent events were a shock and that Air Astana temporarily suspends all the flights to Kiev.
He explained that Almaty-Kiev flight will be performed only when the Russian aviation authorities would allow using the northern gate to bypass the area of unrest.
Kazakhstan's airline SCAT suspended its Aktau-Kiev flights back in February. It has not resumed the flights since. Other flights operated by the airline do not involve use of Ukrainian airspace.
The plane crash on July 17 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine has claimed lives of 298 people. Kazakhstan's Foreign Affairs Ministry declared that there were no Kazakhstani citizens on board.
Presumably, the Boeing 777 airliner of Malaysian Airlines, flying from the Netherlands to Malaysia, was shot down. Official Ukrainian government and the separatists are blaming each other for the tragedy but no one known who shot the ground-to-air missile.
An audio recording is circulating the Internet. It allegedly shows that the separatists were responsible for shooting down the plane. Kyiv Post published a full transcript of intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and separatists allegedly recorded by Ukraininan security agency (known as SBU). You can find it here.
Reporting by Altynai Zhumzhumina and Roza Yessenkulova, writing by Dinara Urazova