Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 28, 2014

FAA Bans Flights In Eastern Ukraine Airspace; NTSB Sends Investigators

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. flight operations over eastern Ukraine after a Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board was shot down in that airspace on Thursday.

Meanwhile on its Twitter account Friday morning, the National Transportation Safety Board said it would “send 1+ investigator to Ukraine. Details TBD. Response will be guided by events as they unfold.”

The FAA said it issued its ban Thursday night “due to recent events and the potential for continued hazardous activities.” The agency said, “The restricted area includes the entire Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk flight information regions (FIRs).”

President Obama will make a statement at 11:30 at the White House on the shooting down of the Malaysian plane.

Delta Airlines said in a statement Thursday, “Out of an abundance of caution, Delta Air Lines is not routing flights through Ukrainian airspace and is monitoring the situation involving Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.”

It added that “Delta does not operate any service that flies over the region of Ukraine that was the subject of an FAA security advisory.”

And the trade association Airlines for America said that no U.S. airlines were operating flights in that airspace in the days leading up to Thursday’s shoot down of the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Brent Spencer, the director of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s air-traffic control program, told Bloomberg News, “The fact that the airspace is not restricted doesn’t mean you don’t need to give extra consideration whether you want to fly to it or not.”

He added, “You might want to think twice about flying through an airspace where there’s somebody shooting missiles at anybody.”

In April the FAA prohibited U.S. flight operations over the Crimean region of Ukraine and adjacent areas of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Russian military forces invaded Crimea in late February.

  • TLOC

    All responsible airlines should evacuate all personnel and equipment from Russia and end all flights entering Russian airspace.

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