The airspace Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was flying in when it was shot down was not restricted, but airlines had been warned about the potential dangers, it has emerged.
The International Transport Association said that an initial assessment revealed that the airspace the aircraft was travelling through was ‘not subject to restrictions’.
The Malaysian Airlines flight lost contact with aircraft control when it was flying over eastern Ukraine.
Nine Britons and 27 Australians, according to Dutch authorities, and fears of up to 23 Americans are among the 295 that have lost their lives.
The Geneva-based group said in a statement: ‘Based on the information currently available, it is believed that the airspace that the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions.’
The Boeing 777 was flying just 300 metres above restricted airspace when it was shot down.
Ukrainian authorities had barred aircraft from ground level to 32,000 feet but the downed aircraft was cruising at 33,000 feet, still within range of ground-to-air missiles, when it was hit.
There was speculation that the doomed Flight MH17 had taken a short-cut across the disputed region of eastern Ukraine to save fuel.