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    Indian carriers to shun Ukrainian airspace

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    New Delhi: India's civil aviation ministry Friday said Air India - which resumed its flights to Moscow after over a decade - and Jet Airways will immediately change their flight paths to avoid the conflict zone of Ukraine.

    Both the Indian carriers, which have daily fights to Europe and the US, will now take longer routes to their destinations.

    The normal route of Indian flights from New Delhi and Mumbai to major west European cities like London, Paris and Frankfurt fly over the Ukrainian airspace.

    Direct flights to US and Canada use the Ukrainian airspace in a limited way as there are ample alternate routes available.

    Air India, which alone has 12 services to western Europe from its hub in New Delhi, said flights to London, Paris and Frankfurt will get affected due to the change in flight path.

    "Our flight path to west Europe will be affected due to the change of route, thereby taking more fuel and time. Direct flights to US and Canada can easily avoid that airspace and use alternate routes. The newly started Italian services also do not fly over the troubled zone," a senior official with Air India's operations arm told IANS here.

    The decision follows the reported shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jetliner on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur Thursday in the conflict zone of Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

    The ministry clarified that there was no Air India flight near the ill-fated Malaysian plane at the time of the incident. "As per information received so far, there was no Indian aboard the ill-fated plane," the ministry said.

    According to Malaysia Airlines, of the 298 people on board, the nationalities of 41 passengers are yet to be established.

    The crash happened on the day national carrier Air India resumed its flight services to Moscow after they remained discontinued since 2000 due to low passenger traffic and economic unviability of the service.

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