FAA extends flight ban over Ukraine
November 30, 2016
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has extended its ban of the airspace above the Simferopol and Dnipropetrovsk areas of Ukriane. Following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 in 2014, the FAA placed an immediate restriction on airspace surrounding the Crimean region. The ban was originally slated to end in October 2016, however in November 2016 the FAA announced it would be extending this ban for an additional two years after the security situation within the area continued to be assessed as hazardous.
Mihin Lanka ceases operations
November 30, 2016
Sri Lankan carrier, Mihin Lanka, announced it would be ceasing operations at the end of October 2016. Following extended talks with the Sri Lankan government, it was reported that Mihin Lanka had sustained severe losses for a number of financial periods and due to this continued poor financial performance and decreasing load factors, the airline’s fleet, route network and operations would be absorbed by its sister airline; SriLankan Airlines. Reports of this amalgamation first surfaced in early 2015, however did not eventuate until late October 2016.
MH-17 Downed by Russian Made Missile
October 31, 2016
A five nation Joint Investigation Team (JIT), consisting of investigators from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia and Belgium, have concluded that the surface-to-air missile (SAM) that caused Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 to crash, was launched from Russian controlled territory in Eastern Ukraine. The investigation, which has been ongoing since the July 2014 crash that killed all 298 occupants on board, found that a Russian-built BUK SAM System was used to launch the missile that downed the Boeing 777 aircraft. The official report into the crash released by the Dutch Safety board in October 2015 concluded that a BUK warhead detonated outside of the aircrafts’ cockpit, ejecting high energy fragments into the aircraft and subsequently causing an in-flight breakup.
The findings from the JIT report utilised radar tracking and satellite imagery to determine the origin of the missile. Additional evidence included over 150,000 intercepted phone and radio calls, and social media messages between Russian backed rebels operating within the Crimean region. Photos also emerged of a BUK Missile transport truck being driven back across the Russian and Ukrainian border shortly after the crash with one of its missiles absent. A missile exhaust cone and stabilizing fin was also recovered from the debris field, which were found to belong to a BUK missile.
The JIT reportedly cited plans to present its official findings as a criminal case in the coming months, to either a federal court or tribunal. The Russian Foreign Ministry has refuted the findings, reportedly stating the investigation to be biased and shifting blame onto Ukraine.