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More on Flying Over War Zones

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I’m sure I was not the only one thinking about the practice of flying over war zones before MH17 was brought down on 17 July – check my posting from 8 July about flying north from Dubai over the ISIS disputed parts of Iraq on a Qantas A380.

Today Emirates have announced they will no longer be flying that route, instead they’ll fly further east over Iran and then turn west once they’re north of Iraq. Coincidentally that’s the same route they used to follow when things were really bad in Iraq during the US occupation. Here’s a photo I took in 2006 from an Emirates Airbus A330 as we flew west towards Turkey, I was looking south towards the mountainous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. ▼2006 11 20  - Iran-Iraq-Turkey Kurdistan region, EK 777 540

Plus, of course, there’s already been an airliner brought down over the Arab/Persian Gulf to the north of Dubai. That’s a route they’re all going to start on as airliners depart Dubai northbound. The trigger happy finger on that occasion was a US Navy one, they killed 290 passengers (including 66 children) in an Airbus in 1988.

Just a few months before 9/11 airliners began to fly over Afghanistan and in July that year, soon after the route started to be used, I sat up on the flight deck of a British Airways 747 as we traversed Afghanistan. If you asked nicely you could do that, back in the pre-9/11 era. In the subsequent decade-and-a-bit I’ve flown over Afghanistan many times, taken many photographs and not worried about it. Nevertheless the Taliban are a war-like mob and they’re directly below, although I guess the airlines all assume they haven’t got any serious missile capability? Afghan guerrillas did bring down a Russian AN-26 back in 1988, however. This photograph, from a Zam Air 737, was taken between Kabul and Herat in 2006. ▼FT - 2006 05 18 - Kabul-Herat, KA 737 540

More benignly for many years airliners were not permitted to fly over Cambodia and Vietnam, I remember making a number of flights with airlines like Cathay Pacific which departed Bangkok and then dog-legged south to skirt the countries before turning north-west to Hong Kong. It was a route that added considerable flying time.

2006 11 20  - Iran-Iraq-Turkey Kurdistan region, EK 777 540

More on Flying Over War Zones

29 July 2014 | Transport

I’m sure I was not the only one thinking about the practice of flying over war zones before MH17 was brought down on 17 July – check my posting from 8 July about flying north from Dubai over the ISIS disputed parts of Iraq on a Qantas A380. Today Emirates have anno...

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IMG_6556 - approaching Heathrow - 542

A Notable Qantas A380 & a War 40,000 ft Below

9 July 2014 | Transport

▲  Sometimes flights are interesting all the way. When I looked out from the Tullamarine Airport (Melbourne, Australia) terminal at the Qantas A380 I was about to board I could see its name just below the flight deck windows: Nancy-Bird Walton. It was the first Airbus...

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holiday-in-cambodia 271

Holiday in Cambodia

6 July 2014 | Media

There’s not much vacation time in Laura Jean McKay’s electric collection of short stories. Dark short stories, nobody is having a really good time whether they’re foreign visitors on a train heading for a Khmer Rouge ambush soon after Cambodia reopened in the early 19...

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Bluetooth Symbol 271

Harald Bluetooth & his Viking Phone

4 July 2014 | Living

I love the way one experience leads you to another. Surprisingly often I go somewhere and what I see instantly makes me want to see something else. Earlier this year, at the enormously popular Viking exhibit (it finished a couple of weeks ago) at the British Museum, I...

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Over the Maldives – fine stonework below (and maybe MH 370)

29 June 2014 | Places

In a recent posting on Istanbul I commented how on-the-ground reality could run well ahead of our up-to-the-minute internet, with a photograph from the Galata Tower of the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s historic inlet from the Bosphorus. The new (early 2014) Golden Horn Metr...

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IMG_4888 - Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) 271


26 June 2014 | Places

◄ My recent Turkey travels featured stops at assorted archaeological sites and museums – recently excavated Göbekli Tepe,  Nemrut Dağı, Gaziantep where the museum features wonderful mosaics from the Roman city of Belkıs-Zeugma, Catalhöyük, the amazing ruins at Sagalas...

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IMG_5892 - street art in Kaleiçi 271

Antalya & its fine museum

21 June 2014 | Places

A popular coastal resort Antalya was the jumping off point for visits to three nearby archaeological sites – Termessos, Aspendos and Perge. It’s also got some archaeology right in the town, the narrow streets of the old port area of Kaleiçi has remnants of the old Rom...

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Perge – ruins with a lot of columns

20 June 2014 | Places

Just 17 km north-west of Antalya and a stone’s throw off the freeway this is the most developed of the three archaeological sites close to the Mediterranean resort. It was also the last stop in my Global Heritage Fund circuit of Turkey’s sites, although there is one m...

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IMG_5820 - Aqueduct, Aspendos 542

Aspendos – a big theatre & a stunning aqueduct

16 June 2014 | Places

The great theatre at Aspendos, it seats 15,000 and is probably the best-preserved theatre from Roman times, is regularly used for performances. It was also undergoing some heavy-duty renovation work when I visited the site so it was not possible to go inside. Aspendos...

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IMG_5801 - Termessos 271

Termessos – big stones

14 June 2014 | Places

Antalya, the Turkish coastal resort town, has three nearby archaeological sites – Aspendos, Perge and Termessos. After the impressive restoration work I’d seen at Sagalassos, Termessos was a real contrast. This was a ruin in a truly ruined state. As we drove up to ...

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