Image via Shutterstock

Revised safety protocols for the routeing of airlines over war zones have been demanded following last week’s shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The downing of the Boeing 777, killing all 298 people onboard including 10 Brits, is widely assumed to have been the result of a missile strike by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists.

The aircraft was flying a route avoided by some airlines, including British Airways, but at 33,000ft was operating at a higher altitude than officially restricted airspace.

All commercial flights have now been barred from eastern Ukraine.

Schiphol Steph

The scene at Schiphol airport yesterday (Tuesday)

The incident prompted a furious response from Emirates president Tim Clark. He said: “The international airline community needs to respond. It needs to say this is absolutely not acceptable and outrageous, and that it won’t tolerate being targeted in internecine regional conflicts.”

Clark suggested Iata and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations body, should intervene.

“I think there will have to be new protocols and it will be up to ICAO and Iata and the aviation community to sort out what the protocols have to be.”

Aviation analyst John Strickland, of JLS Consulting, said if someone as influential as Clark was calling for change, it was likely to happen.

“This is going to lead to world bodies like Iata and industry safety groups working to get a clearer and more precise position on any types of risk,” he said.

Clark’s call for new protocols was echoed by Lufthansa.

An Iata spokesman said: “Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made. And the industry will do all that it can to support governments, through ICAO, in the difficult work ahead.”