KLM not letting crews stay overnight in Kyiv due to Ukraine turmoil
Dutch airline KLM will no longer allow its staff to stay overnight in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv because of unrest in the region due to increased tensions with Russia. Crew members will instead fly back immediately. KLM will continue to fly to Ukraine, but the airline only recently decided to prevent its crew members from remaining in the country, a spokesperson said in response to questions from ANP.
KLM said it is monitoring and assessing the situation in Ukraine on a daily basis. The safety of passengers and employees always comes first, according to the airline. "Choosing safe and optimal routes is an integral part of our daily practice."
KLM is using a safety system to analyze risks and determine safe flight routes. KLM bases its analysis on information shared in a specialist group made up of representatives from all Dutch airlines, the intelligence services and various ministries. "The moment at which it is decided not to fly over or to a certain country is based on the most current analysis at that time," KLM said.
Airlines have avoided that area, including KLM, since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down with a missile over a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Commercial flights over eastern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula are still banned. Nearly 300 people were killed in the downing of flight MH17, half of whom were Dutch.
Other airlines have changed their flight schedules because of the situation in Ukraine. Ryanair and Lufthansa, among others, have moved some evening flights to Kyiv to the morning, state news agency Interfax-Ukraine reported earlier. LOT Polish Airlines and the Hungarian airline Wizz Air indicated that they will operate direct flights to Ukraine for the time being, but are ready to adjust the flight schedule if necessary.
International aviation organizations said they are monitoring the situation in Ukraine.
Reporting by ANP