TIME Ukraine

Watch: Ukraine’s Airspace Emptied Out After MH17 Crashed

Ukraine Air Space

Airlines had previously avoided Ukrainian airspace as well

After MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, air traffic data suggest that more and more flights that weren’t Ukraine-bound began to skirt around the country’s borders.

Flight patterns appeared to shift towards a path along Ukraine’s eastern borders hours after MH17’s burning debris was located in eastern Urkaine, as seen in the image to the side. That’s according to Flightradar24.com’s air traffic data at 20:00 UTC from July 17, compared to the data from July 10 and July 3. The circumventions coincided with several airlines’ announcements, including Delta, Lufthansa and Aeroflot, that they would re-route planes to avoid Ukrainian airspace.

Even though what the Federal Aviation Administration deemed unsafe airspace over Ukraine didn’t include MH17’s crash site, many airlines in fact had already re-routed flights, skirting the country’s eastern border. Flights operated by Aeroflot, for example, that normally took a straight-line path from Sochi to Moscow—passing almost exactly over Hrabove, where MH17 crashed—had begun to tilt northeast to avoid entering Ukrainian airspace as early as May, according to Flightradar24’s historical flight records for SU1131.

Flightradar24.comSU1131’s flight path on May 14, 2014.

SU1131’s actual flight path is shown in purple above.




Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team