Qatar’s national carrier has said it would cease flying over Ukrainian territory until further notice, after a Malaysia Airlines plane traveling over eastern Ukraine was shot down yesterday, killing nearly 300 people.
MH17, a Boeing 777, had been traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, and was thought to have been hit by a missile from pro-Russian separatists in the area, though some rebel groups denied any involvement.
“The Qatar Airways Group is in deep dismay over the loss of flight MH17. We stand by to support our fellow oneworld alliance member during this sombre time.
In response to queries, Qatar Airways wishes to inform its passengers that select areas in Ukrainian air space are currently closed by authorities.
Qatar Airways will not fly over Ukrainian territory until further notice.”
Qatar Airways and other airlines such as Lufthansa have likely flown over the area in the recent past, as it’s a major commercial airway.
But the airline does not fly directly to Kiev, and said that it does not expect any delays to be caused by the route changes.
Meanwhile, Emirates Airline has suspended its flights to Ukraine and recalled its Kiev-bound Flight EK171 to Dubai yesterday over safety concerns.
Malaysian leadership and the families of the 298 people killed in last night’s crash have received an outpouring of support from the international community, including in Qatar.
NBC News reports that those killed include:
“154 citizens of the Netherlands; 43 from Malaysia, including 15 crew members and two infants; 27 from Australia; 12 from Indonesia, including one infant; 9 from the United Kingdom; 4 each from Germany and Belgium; 3 from the Philippines; and a citizen of Canada. The nationalities of 41 other victims have not yet been verified.”
And on Twitter, Qatar Airways said:
On behalf of Qatar Airways, our thoughts are with the relatives of those aboard Malaysia Airlines flight #MH17. We stand ready to assist
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) July 17, 2014
Doha residents have also reached out:
— Muhammad Nasir (@MoAwesomeSauce) July 17, 2014
Such sad and devastating news of the plane crash… Thoughts and prayers to all the families and friends of those on board
— ILoveQatar – Live (@ILQLive) July 17, 2014
An investigation is now underway into who shot the plane down, and what exactly happened.