KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia Airlines says that in the wake of the shooting down of one of its passenger jets over Ukraine, it has changed the route it planes will take on flights to and from Europe.
The airline said in a statement Friday on its website that the flights “will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route.”
The plane, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed Thursday with 298 people on board Flight 17. American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile brought the aircraft down but it was not yet clear who fired it.
“The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization. International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions,” the airline said.
Earlier, Malaysia’s prime minister said the jet did not make any distress call before it went down in Ukraine, and that the flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters that Ukrainian authorities believe the Boeing 777, on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down.
He says that Malaysia, however, is unable to verify “the cause of this tragedy but we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight.
This is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.