Following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine and the subsequent death of 298 passengers and crew members, the crash it having an effect on business travel. According to the New York Times, there are approximately 100,000 commercial flights on more than 50,000 routes across the globe on any given day.
The source stated that due to the tragedy of Flight 17, companies will have to consider their duty of care and the corporate risk-management associated with it.
“Will it now be necessary for travel departments to make sure that preferred carriers do not overfly war zones, areas of civil conflict or regions of crisis?,” Greeley Koch, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives told the Times.
“This is a well-established international route,” Anthony C. Roman, a security consultant told the Times “It’s regularly traversed by other airlines. However, in April, the European aviation authorities issued warnings to member states that the Crimea area should be avoided. In May, the FAA actually restricted flights over Crimea itself and warned about eastern Ukraine.”
Roman also told the source that airlines often use the route because it’s the most available and the smartest. However, as far as corporate duty of care is concerned, travel managers sometimes have no prior knowledge of the particular route an aircraft will fly as its determined by airline dispatchers and subject to in-flight modifications by the captain and air-traffic controllers.
Several airlines are avoiding Ukrainian airspace following the crash of Flight 17. These include British Airways, a number of U.S. airlines, Lufthansa, Air France, Turkish Airlines and Russian carrier Transaero.
Malaysia Airlines retires flight number
In the wake of the tragedy, Malaysia Airlines announced it retiring Flight 17 as of July 25. CNN reported that the flight number is being retired out of respect for those who perished in the accident that was believed to have been shot down by a missile.
According to the source, the new flight number for the carrier’s route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur will be MH19. Malaysia Airlines also changed the flight number for MH730 to MH318 after its Boeing went missing with more than 200 passengers and crew onboard in March.
In addition to changing the flight number, Malaysia Airlines said it will allow travelers to cancel or postpone their tickets, including non-refundable purchases, as no cost to the passenger. This must be done by July 24 and is good on flights that are scheduled until December 31, 2014.