When Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was tragically shot down over Ukraine one of the many questions that people asked was why the airline continues to fly over a warzone where separatists were known to have already shot down at least a handful of military planes. Sadly, it seems that Malaysia decided to take what seems like a rather obvious risk so that it could save on fuel costs, and it still hasn’t learned its lesson.

Malaysian Airlines

Malaysia Airlines is still flying over Syria

“This statement is to clarify the misunderstanding caused by a tweet from Flightradar24 on Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH004 from Kuala Lumpur to London that flew over Syrian airspace on 20 July 2014 at 1:20pm local time,” the company wrote on its website earlier today.

“MH004’s flight plan is in accordance to International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) approved routes. As per the notice to airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Syrian Civil Aviation Authority, the Syrian airspace was not subject to restrictions… Malaysia Airlines maintains that safety of its passengers and crew is of utmost priority.”

Excessive risk-taking raises more doubts about MH 370 disappearance

Malaysia Airlines can maintain whatever it likes, but when it is being roundly criticized for flying over one warzone (with the same lame excuse that the airspace wasn’t restricted, despite the obvious danger), continuing to fly over another is really beyond the pale. Just to be clear, the FAA banned US commercial flights from going over this part of Ukraine back in April, so it’s not like the risk was unimaginable.

We still don’t know what happened to MH 370, the plane that disappeared over the Indian Ocean back in March, and there’s a good chance that we simply won’t find out, but losing two airplanes in such a short period of time is deeply troubling. Finding out that the airline continues to take risks to save fuel should give passengers a bit of pause.

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Does Malaysia Airline management need to be replaced?

“One thing is apparent after this latest disaster at the airline, upper management needs to be completely overhauled. Their critical decision making abilities are non-existent, and their ability to manage and evaluate risk scenarios is severely lacking,” EconMatters wrote last week.

At the time it might have sounded harsh, especially with everyone still reeling from the shock of what had happened, but as long as management refuses to reassess what it considers to be a reasonable risk, the criticism seems warranted.