QW Uncategorized

Why Was MH17 flying over a warzone?

Not too long ago, we started receiving reports of another Malaysian Airlines flight, MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashing somewhere in Ukraine, with survival of 295 passengers and 10 crew members in doubt. Details are still coming in now, although there are unconfirmed reports of it being shot down by a missile. While we don’t really want to speculate as news comes in (just follow The Guardian’s newsfeed here), we thought we’d help in our own little way to at least clear up one question on everyone’s mind.

What was it doing in a warzone in the first place?

Update: picture removed due to not taking into account curvature of earth. Please refer to google maps one below.

As you can see from this flight path picture of MH17, it takes an absolute straight line through Kuala Lumpur, and straight onto Auckland New Zealand. This means passing over Iran Pakistan (Update: Thanks AVH for pointing out this error! We did write this pretty early in the morning), Ukraine and Afghanistan, all of which are certified warzones. Actually, Ukraine has only been added to the list as of June 2014.

So why didn’t MAS move the flight? Well, Thailand was also added to the list around the same period, so as you can see, it’s about risk management – and matching that against fuel costs. The fact is, we fly over warzones ALL THE TIME, and very few people are even aware of it. We found an article exploring the danger of flying over Syria at Bold-Mag.com.

“Flying at 30,000 feet places MEA at a safe enough altitude that airplanes are out of the range of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that could be used by rebels” Nizar Khoury, MEA (Middle East Airlines) head of commercial operations.

Another thing to note is how absolutely straight that flight path is. Thing is, airplanes make flying possible for more people by being affordable. How they stay affordable is taking the most fuel-efficient path possible between two destinations. While some people do question the savings…

“If I had a choice to fly for $100 over a conflict zone or to fly an alternate route for $200, I would take the alternate route,” Ret Gen Elias Hanna, host of MTV’s “General View” program.

…how often have you checked the flight path of the AirAsia flight you’ve been taking? What if it passed over Thailand?

UPDATE: One of our readers has asked if other airlines follow the same path. This is what we got from google images. Do note the top right corner information.

other airlines same MH17 path

As such, it is our unprofessional opinion, that MAS holds no fault in the events that occured. The IATA has since confirmed this.

Incidentally, news has started to come in that some airlines are changing their flight paths with immediate effect. Expect everyone to follow shortly.

Aeroflot will not fly over Ukraine

So how many planes have been shot down in Warzones?

picture from hdnux.com

According to this Wiki, 21 in history, and 18 in non-wartime eras. While that might sound alarming, considering billions of people fly every year, it’s a relatively low number. Having said that tho, there was a Siberian flight brought down in the same region only 13 years ago. Do read the Wiki for what happened next as a good indicator of what might happen if MH17 is found to have the same fate.

To the families and friends of the passengers, our deepest, sincerest prayers and sympathies are with you.

Why am I NOT getting matches on Tinder? Malaysian women answer


  1. Pingback: 17 Malaysian headlines we don’t want to see in 2015 | CILISOS - Current Issues Tambah Pedas!

  2. Pingback: 4 things Malaysians have learnt from a tragic 2014 | CILISOS - Current Issues Tambah Pedas!

  3. AVH

    19/07/2014 at 12:06 am

    “This means passing over Iran, Ukraine and Afghanistan, all of which are certified warzones. Actually, Ukraine has only been added to the list as of June 2014.”

    Iran is not a certified warzone, in fact its a country with strong diplomatic ties with Malaysia and almost regular flight connects Kuala Lumpur and Tehran. Iraq is a warzone, and Flight MH17 route dosen’t fly over Iraq. Afghanistan is also a warzone and also within Flight MH7 path, but the fight is almost regularly confine to the ground with almost no Ground to air confrontation. Syria, Ukraine and possibly Iraq are the only countries listed in the dangerous and have ground-to-air confrontation i.e: Use of Weapons against flying aircraft. Ukraine and Syria have numerous occation deployed Surface to Air missiles.

    Thou this is the first time something as capabled as a 9k37 ‘Buk’ (Something Soviets develope to take down highly manuevarable as a F-15) has been deployed ,in quite some time actually. Theres is not many major conflict in the recent years that medium-range SAM has been ever deployed an intercepted an aircraft with the exception of the Gaza-Israel conflict where Israel deployed an even more capable Patriot missile to down a humble Palestinian drone.

    • Chak Onn Lau

      19/07/2014 at 2:37 am

      WHOOPS… you’re absolutely right, AVH. It’s been corrected now 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Here at CILISOS, we believe that the only way to consume information is with a serious dose of flavour. Our aim is to make mundane things like news and current events entertaining, and informative, hopefully in equal measure. Read More

The Serious Legal Stuff


Cilisos Media Sdn. Bhd. Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.

To Top
Send this to a friend