|British Airways: An early adopter of diverting flights to avoid war zones|
European and US Tier 2 (against individuals) and Tier 3 (against countries, institutions ect) Sanctions have been agreed today (Tuesday) against Russia and will be immediately targeted at Finance, Oil and Energy.
It is expected that Russian companies will not be able to list on the London Stock Exchange and that Companies such as BP who own some 19% of the Russian energy firm Rosneft, will be hit as shareholders offload stock.
Western major car manufacturers are also expecting repercussions from any sanctions as Russia is estimated to account for 1/3rd of European car sales and a higher proportion of the luxury car market. Shareholders are expected to demand some form of compensation from Western governments, if the sanctions are put in place.
Meanwhile Airline leaders are meeting in closed session in Montreal, Canada to consider if airlines should fly through or over conflict zones, and if full information is being passed onto aviation operations.
Any deviation by flights from direct air corridors, is conservatively expected to cost around £4,000 per leg (£8k per return flight) and to add around £15 to the retail price of a single one way air ticket. Even so, looking at the radar screens some one hundred and thirty flights are shown to be in the air over Iraq; meanwhile Ukraine airspace shows only 3 civil aircraft.
In the UK, a spokesman for the High Street Travel Agents Lobby ABTA, is frantically doing the rounds of TV and Radio studios. Consider that Travel Agents will be badly hit by any new hike in air flight inclusive tour holiday prices. The ABTA Spokesman Sean Tipton is seemingly clinging onto the hope that some airlines will swallow the increase. Our information is that the charge, like an airport tax, will be applied equally to ALL FLIGHTS including cargo and 'repo' repositioning logistics flights.
There is however dismay from the Air accident expert team based in Farnborough, Hampshire, who within days had successfully downloaded the first tranche of core data from the two black boxes and passing preliminary information on to international investigators. The formal public release was not due for another week or so, until all parties had been properly briefed.
Generally most countries blame Pro-Russian separatists or 'rebels' for allegedly shooting down the MH17 aircraft with a Russian manufactured BUK missile, possibly mistaking it for a Ukrainian military transport plane. Possibly due to military and civil radar being on different systems and leading to confusion in positive identification of the target aircraft.
On the ground, a team of Dutch and Australian police are making fresh attempts to reach the crash site having been forced to turn back after heavy fighting and a series of explosions in the area. Ukraine rebels claim they have lost control over part of the MH17 crash site located in a war zone, now behind Ukranian Government forces lines.
The Australian Deputy Commissioner for National Security Andrew Colvin has pointed out evidence is being degraded and in some cases lost. At the United Nations, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is demanding a full inquiry into the plane attack condemned the "horrendous shooting down" of flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. She is demanded a "thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation.... This violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime."
JULIAN BRAY, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security &Ops,Travel/Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ UK Tel: 01733 345581 (HOME ISDN NEW NUMBER 01733 345020) e&oe