Australian Police: some documents in the case of MH17, common platform Bonanza Media are authentic

The Australian Police confirmed that some documents in the case of MH17, common platform Bonanza Media are authentic.

It is noted that this document was prepared by Federal police as part of the ongoing investigation. Dutch prosecutors refused to comment on the authenticity.

One of the leaked documents contains a transcript of the conversation of German journalist Billy six’s with representatives of law enforcement agencies of Australia in relation to the witnesses who saw the day of the crash MH17 Ukrainian fighter jets.

The second document says that a year after the Australian disaster experts worked with non-original cropped images that, as it turned out, was edited.

In the third paper, Dutch intelligence concludes, has no information about the presence of any BUK missile system near the crash site of MH17.

The fourth document is a transcript of the conversation between the Dutch police with an unknown witness who is sure that few minutes before the tragedy two Ukrainian fighters appeared in that area.

By Thomas Channeton

Malaysia Airlines: A history of ups and downs

Malaysia Airlines Berhad, colloquially known as Malaysia Airlines, is Malaysia’s flag carrier. The airline has been struggling for the past few years following several incidents involving one missing flight (MH370) and another being shot down over eastern Ukraine (MH17). Now, Malaysia Airlines - wholly owned by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund company – is considering selling its shares in a bid to recover from unprofitability.

On 20 January 2020, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad confirmed that Malaysia Airlines had received five proposals. Sources say that the proposals were submitted by AirAsia, Malindo Air, Lion Air, Air France-KLM alliance and Japan Airlines. As the discussion for the proposal is confidential, the details were not revealed to the public.

The question now is whether this bid is a good move? Tracing back Malaysia Airlines’ history and past struggles might answer this question.  

Malaysia Airlines was founded in Singapore on 12 October, 1937 as Malayan Airways Limited. The first commercial flight was only boarded in 1947, some 10 years later. When the Federation of Malaysia was established in 1963, the airline’s name changed to Malaysian Airways. Then, following Singapore’s separation from Malaysia in 1965, the airline’s name was changed again to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines before the airline ceased operations after six years in 1972 when both, Malaysia and Singapore decided to establish their own flag carriers – Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines.

During the 1980s, the economic boom in Malaysia helped MAS grow, and by the end of the decade MAS became the first airline in Southeast Asia to serve intercontinental flights to South America.

However, during the Asian Financial Crisis, just like other companies in Asia, MAS suffered losses against its financial year for about five years. One of the damage control efforts was to discontinue unprofitable routes out of Malaysia. In 2003, MAS recovered from its losses and achieved some profit before 2005 where it suffered another period of unprofitability due to rising fuel prices, escalated handling and landing fees, and other factors.

Idris Jala was appointed as the new CEO of MAS and launched its Business Turnaround Plan in 2006. MAS posted a record profit in 2007 ending a series of losses since 2005. Route rationalising was one of the major contributors other than improving MAS’ operation system.

In 2011, MAS recorded a net loss of RM2.52 billion (US$613 million) - the largest ever recorded in the company’s history - due to rising fuel costs. Idris Jala departed from MAS in 2009 to accept a position in the country’s Cabinet. The new CEO, Tengku Azmil Zahruddin took over the reins thereafter before newly-appointed CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, was appointed in 2011. Again, the first initiative was to discontinue the unprofitable routes. MAS then recorded profits in 2013 and became a member of the Oneworld Alliance, a leading global airline alliance.

In 2014, MAS struggled to compete with AirAsia, the now-famous Malaysian low-cost carrier. Then, the mysterious flight disappearance of MH370 in March 2014 added to its financial struggles. People started developing doubts about flying with the country’s flag carrier. 

The search for the missing plane has become one of the costliest endeavours in aviation history, centred around the South China and Andaman seas initially before shifting to the Indian Ocean. As a result, MAS’ stock went down as much as 20 percent following the disappearance of MH370 and fell 80 percent over the previous five years. 

Three months after the tragic MH370 incident, another Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17, was shot down while flying over Eastern Ukraine. The incident has become widely publicised because of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine between Russia and the Ukraine. These two incidents have greatly contributed to MAS’ financial year losses.

On the proposed recovery plan, Khazanah Nasional Berhad - then the majority shareholder of MAS - announced that it would buy the shares of minority shareholders. MAS will compensate shareholders with premium closing price shares as part of Khazanah’s plan to restructure and rebrand MAS.

On 29 August 2014, Khazanah issued a report on the recovery plan that included cutting off 6,000 staff and focusing on regional destinations rather than long-haul routes. In 2015, MAS rebranded its name to Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) and appointed a new CEO, Christoph Mueller. 

In less than a year, Christoph resigned from the post, citing changing personal circumstances as the reason. It was announced in 2016 that the new CEO, Peter Bellew would take over. He too decided to resign a year later. Currently, Captain Izham Ismail, a former Malaysia Airlines pilot is the new CEO of MAB. 

Following the numerous CEO changes and to recover profitability – Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the parent company of MAB spearheaded by the government of Malaysia – has come up with an idea to offer the company’s shares to airline companies who can propose a strategic plan en route to profitability.

With little details available to the public, several major newspapers in Malaysia have speculated that the Malaysian government and Khazanah are leaning towards selecting the AirAsia Group for this plan. The AirAsia Group has proposed to take over the shares offered by Khazanah and for AirAsia X Berhad to merge with Malaysia Airlines, potentially making the merged company a Malaysian/ASEAN champion competitor. 

Proposals have been submitted by foreign carriers as well. The Air France-KLM alliance has proposed to take a 49 percent stake while Japan Airlines wants a 25 percent stake in Khazanah. This is not a surprise as the relationship between Malaysia and Japan has been improving following the samurai bond issuance by Japan in 2019. Things may not be so smooth with an Air France-KLM alliance though, as both parties belong to different airline alliances: Oneworld for Malaysia Airlines and Skyteam for Air France-KLM.

The bids are still being reviewed and Malaysia needs to carefully consider the proposals made. As Malaysia Airlines is the flag carrier of Malaysia and a national symbol, the decision made by Malaysia will be crucial in deciding the future of the aviation industry in the country.

Wahab Jumrah

Tree American firefighters killed in Australia plane crash identified

The three Americans who died fighting an Australian bushfire from the air have been identified by their employer, Oregon-based Coulson Aviation.

The three are 44-year-old Capt. Ian McBeth of Great Falls, Montana, who was piloting the downed C-130 plane; First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, age 42, of Buckeye, Arizona; and 43-year-old Flight Engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr., who lived in Navarre, Florida, Coulson.

"The aviation industry and emergency service sector is a small community both in Australia and around the world," Coulson said. "This will be deeply felt by all."All three men were veterans of the US military, Coulson said. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

A government official in Australia said the water tanker plane had been chartered by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. The crew had been on a firebombing mission in the state of New South Wales, where fires are still burning out of control, when the accident occurred, Coulson said earlier. According to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, contact was lost with the C-130 water-bombing plane shortly before 1:30 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Fires have been burning in New South Wales for months, and the US and other countries have been lending firefighting assistance and personnel. The US said Wednesday it's sending two more 20-person crews, only days after sending air support personnel and other emergency management teams. The US has deployed more than 200 fire staff to Australia so far, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Opinion: Why Governments Must Decide When Not To Fly

by Mark Zee

Until Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down just before dawn in Tehran on Jan. 8, the tempting narrative was that the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 was a black swan event.

Iran’s acknowledgment that it shot down PS752 removes that doubt and painfully validates our 5.5 years of work on airspace risk awareness, but it also makes clear that this work was not enough to prevent a repeat tragedy. It is now evident that governments must play a more active role in preventing airlines from flying in conflict zones.

The work the aviation industry has done post-MH17 has not been for nothing. Far from it. Cooperation and collaboration around risk among airlines and among government departments, which was largely frowned upon before MH17, has become acceptable.

Risk awareness is higher than ever before. Information-sharing has moved from small, closed circles to large, open groups.

But underlying that work was an uncertainty around the need for it all. The reason: Risk is nebulous.

A decision to avoid risk averts a situation that might occur. Despite the usual scales of low, medium, and high, the true likelihood is always low. There is no data to provide answers afterward: What did not happen cannot be measured. Airline security managers are therefore under tremendous pressure. Money spent on risk avoidance has no clear billing code. But the temptation to err on the side of saving costs is ever present.

Herein lies the impasse. The ultimate final decision in approach to risk lies with the airline or aircraft operator, which is in most cases a business. Passengers and pilots have an undeniable first priority to stay alive.

A business has the same priority, of course. Every decision in a business will ultimately be a commercial decision to ensure it stays alive. This explains why airlines continued to fly to Tehran even when it was abundantly clear this was a shootdown event.

A lesson from the last five years of our work is that like businesses under pressure to fly through conflict zones, countries cannot be relied upon to close risky airspace or issue damaging guidance about their own territories. Iran is not alone in this. A string of other nations have made similar decisions: Cyprus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Turkey.  Only on one occasion—Pakistan, in 2019—has a national authority closed its airspace for reasons of conflict-zone risk. Governments have more pressing motivations in trade, tourism and commerce. This will not change.

And yet government involvement is what is needed to solve things. The civil aviation industry has done what is within its power—there are no new initiatives that can take us further.

The position that aircraft operators are solely responsible for making risk decisions favors the handful of large airlines that have the resources to continually assess risk. The overwhelming majority cannot. For thousands of operators, relying on internal or external support to make qualified, informed essential risk decisions is simply not practical. The operational staffing of even a medium-size airline is small, especially at night, when most rapid-onset risk situations occur.

Right now, only a handful of countries are active in prohibiting their carriers from risky areas. But it works.

On the night in question, the U.S. had issued a notice to airmen that prevented its pilots and carriers from operating in Iran, several hours before the shootdown. If there were going to be an incident, it would not involve a U.S. aircraft.

When the U.S. prevents its carriers from flying through a conflict zone, many airlines follow—especially when backed up by Germany, France or the UK. But no system, organization or clear channel exists for that information to be passed to all concerned. This must change.

Each state has a duty to care for its citizens. Most governments have the resources to assess risk. This duty of care needs to be extended to pilots and passengers aboard aircraft.

In the first weeks of 2020, international travel advice about Iraq and Iran from the foreign affairs departments of many countries was clear: Do not travel. That same advice needs to extend to aircraft operators: Do not fly. 

Mark Zee is the founder of Opsgroup, an organization of 7,000 members working in international flight operations that share information to improve awareness of risk, operational procedures and changes after MH17 exposed the lack of collaboration in the industry. He also manages Safe Airspace: The Conflict Zone & Risk Database.

The victims of Ukraine Flight PS752

A Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after take-off in Iran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

In total, 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians were on board the Kyiv-bound Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.

There were also 11 victims - including nine crew members - from Ukraine, four Afghans, four Britons and three Germans.

Iran's head of emergency operations said 147 of the victims were Iranian, which suggests many of the foreign nationals held dual nationality.

A list of passengers was released by the airline, but the BBC is awaiting confirmation from people known to the victims.

Canada 'shocked and saddened'

The majority of the passengers on the flight were headed for Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed. Out of the 176 victims, 138 had listed Canada as their final destination.

Of them, 57 of them carried a Canadian passport, but many others were foreign students, permanent residents or visitors.

Initially, the number of Canadian victims was given as 63.

A number of the passengers on board the plane were reportedly students and university staff from Canada returning at the end of the holidays.

The tragedy was a national one, touching many communities across the country.

British Columbia

Ardalan Ebnoddin Hamidi, Niloofar Razzaghi and their teenage son Kamyar, a family of three from Vancouver were returning from Iran where they had taken a short vacation and were confirmed to have been on the flight.

The University of British Columbia said it is mourning the loss of Mehran Abtahi, a postdoctoral research fellow, and sibling alumnus Zeynab Asadi Lari and Mohammad Asadi Lari.

"She was full of dreams, and now they're gone," Elnaz Morshedi told the BBC of her friend Zeynab Asadi Lari, who was studying health sciences.

Her brother Mohammmad was the co-founder of STEM fellowship, a youth-run charity that helps students in maths and sciences.

Other victims from the west coast province include Delaram Dadashnejad, an international student studying nutrition at a college in Vancouver, and couple Naser Pourshaban Oshibi and Firouzeh Madani.

Alberta

The University of Alberta confirmed that 10 members of the institution's community were killed in the tragedy.

Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Daneshmand, a married couple who taught engineering at the University of Alberta, were killed in the crash, along with their two daughters, Daria, 14, and Dorina, 9.

Arash Pourzarabi, 26,and Pouneh Gourji, 25, were graduate students in computer science at the university, and had gone to Iran for their wedding.

Other students who died included Elnaz Nabiyi, Nasim Rahmanifar, and Amir Saeedinia, as well as alumnus Mohammad Mahdi Elyasi, who studied mechanical engineering and graduated in 2017.

Obstetrician Shekoufeh Choupannejad, her daughter Saba Saadat, who was studying medicine at the university, and Sara, who had recently graduated, were also among those on the flight

The "community is reeling from this loss," said university president David Turpin on Thursday.

Also from the province of Alberta was Kasra Saati, an aircraft mechanic formerly with Viking Air, the CBC confirmed.

Manitoba

Victims from Winnipeg included Forough Khadem, described "as a promising scientist and a dear friend," by her colleague E Eftekharpour.

Graduate student Amirhossein Ghassemi was studying biomedical engineering.

"I can't use past tense. I think he's coming back. We play again. We talk again. It's too difficult to use past tense, too difficult. No one can believe it," his friend Amir Shirzadi told CTV News.

Amirhossein Bahabadi Ghorbani, 21, was studying science at the University of Manitoba and hoped to become a doctor, his roommate told the CBC.

CBC also confirmed that a family of three from that city - Mohammad Mahdi Sadeghi, his wife, Bahareh Hajesfandiari, and their daughter, Anisa Sadeghi, were travelling together on the flight.

Farzaneh Naderi, a customer service manager at Walmart, and her 11-year-old son Noojan Sadr were also killed.

Ontario

Many of the victims were returning to their homes in Toronto and other nearby cities in the province of Ontario.

They included Ghanimat Azhdari - a PhD student at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She specialised in promoting the rights of indigenous groups and her research group described her as "cherished and loved".

Toronto resident Alina Tarbhai was also among the victims, her employer, the Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation (OSSTF), told the BBC. Her mother Afifa Tarbhai was also on board.

The University of Windsor, Ontario, confirmed five people from their school had died on the plane. PhD student Hamid Kokab Setareh and his wife Samira Bashiri, who was also a researcher at the school, were among those killed.

Omid Arsalani told CBC that his sister Evin Arsalani, 30, had travelled to Iran to attend a wedding with her husband, Hiva Molani, 38, and their one-year-old daughter Kurdia. All three were killed in the crash.

The University of Toronto confirmed the loss of students Mojtaba Abbasnezhad, Mohammad Amin Beiruti, and Mohammad Amin Jebelli, and Mohammad Salehe.

Seyed Hossein Mortazavi, a childhood friend of Mohammad Salehe, said he was a bit reserved and shy but a brilliant computer programmer whose talent was widely recognised.

McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario confirmed the loss of PhD students Iman Aghabali and Mehdi Eshaghian, as well as of former postdoctoral researcher Siavash Maghsoudlou Estarabadi.

The CBC confirmed that Mahdieh Ghassemi and her two children Arsan Niazi and Arnica Niazi, were on the flight.

Tirgan, an Iranian cultural charity, said "it is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell" to some volunteers with their organisation, including couple Parinaz and Iman Ghaderpanah.

The organisation said it was joining in mourning with another volunteer, Hamed Esmaeilion, who lost his wife Parisa Eghbalian, and their daughter Reera Esmaeilion.

Western University said it was mourning four international students: Ghazal Nourian, Milad Nahavandi, Hadis Hayatdavoudi, Sajedeh Saraeian.

The University of Waterloo shared the news "with heavy hearts" that their community had lost two PhD students Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan and Mansour Esnaashary Esfahani.

Quebec

Engineer Siavash Ghafouri-Azar was returning home with his new wife, Sara Mamani, when the plane crashed. The couple had just bought their first home near the Canadian city of Montreal.

His uncle, Reza Ghafouri-Azar, told the BBC "I cannot come up with words for my kind, dedicated nephew."

"He has been a very positive and passionate from childhood until his soul's departure from his body. Rest in peace my dearest side by your beloved wife," he said.

Mr Ghafouri-Azar is a professor of engineering in Toronto, and he introduced his nephew to Ali Dolatabadi, an engineering professor at Concordia University who would become Siavash's thesis supervisor.

"It is a great loss," Mr Dolatabadi told the BBC. "He was very intelligent, a gentleman. He had a kind and a gentle soul." He said his wife Sarah Mamani was "very kind, very polite". The couple were looking forward to throwing a housewarming party in the New Year.

Armin Morattab was worried when his twin Arvin Morattab, called him from the airport in Tehran, amid reports that Iran had fired missiles at US targets in Iraq.

"He said he was coming back home soon," Mr Morattab told the Montreal Gazette.

Arvin Morattab and his wife Aida Farzaneh were both killed.

The Gazette also confirmed that Mohammad Moeini, from Quebec, was also killed.

Nova Scotia

Global News confirmed that five of the victims have ties to Nova Scotia, a province on Canada's east coast.

Dalhousie University student Masoumeh Ghavi, her sister, Mandieh Ghavi, were both killed, as was local dentist Dr. Sharieh Faghihi, and two graduate students at St Mary's University, Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi.

Ali Nafarieh, a professor at Dalhousie and president of the Iranian Cultural Association of Nova Scotia, employed Masoumeh Ghavi part-time at his IT company. He says she was one of the university's "top students".

"I remember she has always a smile on her face. What she brought in our company in addition to skills and knowledge and experience was her energy. She changed the atmosphere over there. We'll miss her a lot," he told CTV News.

Iran victims

We have no information on the 82 Iranian nationals who died.

Tributes to British victims

Four British nationals were among the victims.

Three have been named as Mohammed Reza Kadkhoda Zadeh, who owned a dry cleaners in West Sussex, BP engineer Sam Zokaei from Twickenham, and and PhD student and engineer Saeed Tahmasebi, who lived in Dartford.

Last year, Mr Tahmasebi married his Iranian partner, Niloufar Ebrahim, who was also listed as a passenger on the plane.

Swedish children feared dead

Ten Swedish nationals died in the crash. Many of them are believed to have also had Iranian citizenship.

Swedish media report that several children were among the victims.

Sweden's foreign ministry confirmed that Swedes were among those killed. It provided no further details.

Ukrainian airline crew

Nine of the 11 Ukrainian nationals killed were staff at Ukraine International Airlines (UIA).

Valeriia Ovcharuk, 28, and Mariia Mykytiuk, 24, were among the flight attendants who died.

On their social media accounts, which are now being filled with tributes, they frequently shared photographs from their travels.

Valeria posted just two weeks ago from a hotel in Bangkok with the caption: "Work, I love you."

Ihor Matkov, was flight PS752's chief attendant. The other three flight attendants were named by the airline as Kateryna Statnik, Yuliia Solohub and Denys Lykhno.

Three pilots were on board at the time of the accident: Captain Volodymyr Gaponenko, First Officer Serhii Khomenko and instructor Oleksiy Naumkin.

All three had between 7,600 and 12,000 hours experience flying a 737 aircraft, according to the airline.

A former UIA pilot said he had flown together with each of the three pilots. Writing on Facebook, Yuri, who wanted to be known only by his first name, described them as "great pilots".

Plane crash fatalities fell more than 50% in 2019

The number of people killed in crashes of large commercial planes fell by more than 50% in 2019, according to an aviation industry study.

Last year 257 fatalities were recorded, compared to 534 in 2018, according to aviation consultancy To70.

That's despite the high-profile Boeing 737 Max crash in Ethiopia in March.

The decrease follows a general trend for the industry that's seen aviation fatalities fall even as air travel has increased sharply.

In 2019 there were 86 accidents involving large commercial planes, including eight fatal incidents, resulting in 257 fatalities, Dutch aviation consultancy To70 said.

The 157 people killed in a crash involving Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March accounted for more than half of those deaths.

There was one fatal accident involving large commercial passenger planes for every 5.58 million flights, according to the report.

Last year was "one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation", according to accident tracking website the Aviation Safety Network.

In 2018, 160 incidents were recorded, including 13 fatal accidents, accounting for some 534 deaths.

The global aviation industry's safest year on record was 2017. There were no fatal passenger jet crashes that year, and only two fatal accidents involving regional turboprops that resulted in 13 deaths.

The study includes passengers, air crew, and anyone killed on the ground in a plane accident.

The types of planes covered by the research are the aircraft used by the vast majority of air passengers around the world.

The study did not include small commuter planes, and some smaller turboprop aircraft.

It also did not cover accidents involving military flights, training flights, private flights, cargo planes, and helicopters.

Air passenger safety was under intense scrutiny in 2019 after two crashes in close succession of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

In October 2018, a Boeing 737 Max operated by Lion Air crashed, killing all 189 people on board.

Five months later an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed, killing 157, after which the entire 737 Max fleet was grounded.

Surprising events in the MH-17 investigation

Shortly after the beginning of the MH17 trial, senior prosecutor Fred Westerbeke became the head of the Rotterdam police, the head of the Ukrainian MH17 investigators was also dismissed.

Before the MH-17 process begins, everything seems to move. Fred Westerbeke, who headed the JIT investigation as a public prosecutor, also responsible for other investigations in the field of terrorism and organized crime, will become the head of the Rotterdam police force on April 1. The move is a remarkable decision shortly after the start of the process in early March, which is planned until 2021 and is expected to take place under strict security conditions.

According to the media reports, it does not appear to be known who will become Westerbeke's successor. The prosecutor replaces Frank Paauw, who became Amsterdam's chief of police in the spring. So there was a gap to fill, especially since Westerbeke had started his career as a police officer and then as a public prosecutor in Rotterdam. But taking him out of the job at the beginning of the politically high mammoth process suggests at least a change in attitudes. Was one not satisfied with Westerbeke's investigation, was he too fixated on Russia, but what the Dutch government was and is, or is it too lax?

Most recently, despite intervention by the Dutch government, Vladimir Zemak (Tsemakh), who was described as an important witness and ultimately a suspect, was lost due to the prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia. He might have been the only witness / suspect who can be interviewed in court or through a video link. The four other suspects will not appear in court. Zemak, who is accused of participating in a terrorist organization (the "Donetsk People's Republic") and hiding the Buk system, which is on very shaky legs, had been kidnapped to Kiev by the Ukrainian secret service and was supposed to be there against offers, as he claims to testify against Russian suspects.

The new Ukrainian government considered the prisoner exchange more important than the MH17 witness. Now he is back in Donetsk and should not be extradited by Ukraine as a citizen (Dutch parliament calls for an investigation against Ukraine). The Dutch public prosecutor has announced that she sees Zemak as a suspect but does not yet know if she will file suit against him. This leaves the game open, but looks very tactical. Didn't Westerbeke want to play in it? Zemak himself has brought an action against the Netherlands before the ECJ.

There was also a surprising turnaround in Ukraine, if the information is correct, which Larisa Sargan, the former spokeswoman for the Attorney General Yuri Lutsenko, who was deposed by the new President Zelensky, recently shared on her Facebook. After that, the Ukrainian prosecutor, the head of the Ukrainian MH17 investigation team, was released. Apparently Westerbeke immediately went to Kiev and wanted to meet with the Attorney General Ruslan Rjaboshapka, who has been in office since August. But Sargan is said to have had no time for him, only his deputy, a colleague from the Netherlands.

She suspects that the Ukrainian secret service SBU wants to merge the investigation and that Russia could play a role in this. But it does not seem to be well-liked by the new government, so it is not necessary to believe its claims.

Florian Rötzer

Tsemakh files lawsuit to ECHR against Ukraine, the Netherlands

Volodymyr Tsemakh, the suspect in the case of MH17 downing, filed the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against Ukraine and the Netherlands

According to the lawyer of the suspect, the complaint concerns the conditions of detention and confinement in Kyiv. Besides, Tsemakh stated about the use of psychotropic drugs against him.

“I filed the complaint to the ECHR in the interests of Tsemakh. I do not possess any detailed information; we wait for the further course of events,” lawyer of Tsemakh, Anatoly Kucheren said.

Eliot Higgins, the founder of the international group of the journalists and investigators Bellingcat, said: "It, sooner, reflects the perverse nature of the whole situation. First of all, with the release of Tsemakh by Ukrainian court within the prisoners’ exchange between Ukraine and Russia, despite the fact, that he is Ukrainian; then his escape to Russia and then the refusal of Russia to cooperate with the Netherlands on his detention and now this case".

How MH370 and MH17 changed the way we think about air travel

Thirty-three Australians were tragically killed in two air disasters which shrouded 2014 and the years which have followed in sadness, anger and frustration.

Both incidents, which left a total of 537 passengers dead, forever seared the flight code of Malaysia Airlines into the consciousness of Australians.

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or MH370, remains perhaps the greatest mystery of aviation and the subject of intense speculation.

Of the 227 passengers, six were Australians. On the morning of March 8, they boarded the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and expected to step off in Beijing, China. The plane never arrived, and the search for the missing jet became the most costly in aviation history. The most likely scenario involved someone in the cockpit of Flight 370, probably Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, re-programming the aircraft's autopilot to travel south across the Indian Ocean.

The downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, just four months later, appeared far more clear cut. All 283 passengers and 15 crew were killed, including 27 Australians.

A total of 33 Australians were needlessly killed in two air disasters in quick succession.

In the MH17 disaster, the lives of Perth parents Anthony Maslin and Marite "Rin" Norris were ripped apart in the most devastating way.

They lost their three children – Mo, 12, Evie, 10 and Otis, 8 – and Ms Norris' father, Anthony, when the jet was shot down. Their three children had been returning home to Perth for school, while they had stayed behind in Amsterdam.

Why it matters?

A nation of great travellers, Australians want to feel safe as we journey abroad. But there were also broader implications in both stories.

MH17 threw the spotlight on Moscow's intervention in the Ukraine and its likely hand in the disaster, despite denials.

What happened in the cockpit of MH370 continues to intrigue. A picture began to emerge of Captain Zaharie's mental health. Had Malaysia Airlines done enough not only to support a troubled pilot, but also spot the warning signs of an employee struggling with mental illness?

Malaysia Airlines came under intense pressure over its investigation. The carrier and Malaysian government were accused by families of MH370 victims of obscuring the truth. When disasters strike, people need and expect clarity from leaders and those in power.

What has changed?

Family members of victims are pushing for international law changes which will oblige countries embroiled in civil wars to close their airspace.

In the modern age, it was unthinkable a plane like MH370 could simply disappear. In 2016, a new aviation standard meant all aircraft over open ocean report their position every 15 minutes. The 30-day battery life of a plane's underwater locator beacons has also been increased to 90 days, beginning 2020.

Hit with two devastating disasters, Malaysia Airlines renationalized on 1 September 2015, in an attempt to avoid financial uncertainty. Meanwhile, families of the victims of MH370 and MH17 are still fighting for compensation in civil suits.

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved 'because of crucial lost 18 minutes'

The Malaysian Airlines jet, which was carrying 239 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radar just seconds after entered into Vietnamese airspace.

The mystery of doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may never be solved as it lost contact with air traffic controllers during a crucial 18 minute window, according to reports.

Crucially, this was missed by ground crew in Malaysia who had a busy schedule at the time the jet vanished.

When the team in Kuala Lumpur finally noticed the Boeing 777's disappearance, they presumed it had been taken over by air traffic controllers in Ho Chi Minh, the Atlantic reports.

The Vietnamese team had noticed the jet on their monitors and then saw it vanish - but crucially - it is believed they failed to report the issue to their Malaysian counterparts.

A full 18 minutes passed before ground crew in Kuala Lumpur became aware one of their jets had vanished.

The Malaysian Aviation Safety Network (ASN) is certain that the aircraft was captured mid-flight.

Evidence is mounting that the crash, which has become of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time, was a murder-suicide.

New flight data suggests "some abnormal turns [were] made by the 777 [that] can only be done manually."

French investigators claim captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a troubled, lonely man who deliberately killed all passengers and crew on board the flight.

But it will take around "a year" to go through all of the information received from Boeing, sources said in July.

A source, who is 'close to the investigation' said: "Some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually. So someone was at the helm.

"But nothing is credited that anyone else could have entered the cockpit."

The informant told Le Parisien the new development amid France's judicial inquiry into the crash. It is the only country to conduct one as of yet.

Data analysis indicates the Boeing 777-200ER flew over the Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel and violently slammed into the water with 239 people on board.

It is suspected the plane's passenger cabin was deliberately depressurised by Shah to kill everyone on board hours before the crash.

Before doing so, he could have put on an oxygen mask in the cockpit so he could continue to fly the aircraft for hours.

At around the same time the cabin was depressurised the electrical system was deliberately turned off, making the plane impossible to track by satellite.

An FBI inspection of Shah's Microsoft flight simulator at home showed he had tested a flight roughly matching the path of MH370, ending in the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.

His voice was heard in the final radio communication less than two minutes before the plane began to divert from its flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

One of his lifelong friends told the Atlantic that he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that Shah deliberately crashed the plane, given the evidence amassed by independent investigators.

The friend, who wasn't named, said: “It’s hard to reconcile with the man I knew. But it’s the necessary conclusion.”

The friend said Shah likely tricked his inexperienced 27-year-old co-pilot, Fariq Hamid, who was on his final training flight, into leaving the cockpit and locked him out.

He said: “Zaharie was an examiner. All he had to say was ‘Go check something in the cabin', and the guy would have been gone.”

Shah's friend doesn't know why the pilot would do such a thing, but thought it might be down to the captain's emotional state.

He added: “Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew.”

People who spoke to the Atlantic described Shah, the father of adult children, as lonely and sad.

By David Coleman