Malaysia Airlines says requested higher flight plan

KUALA LUMPUR Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:49am EDT

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia Airlines filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet throughout Ukraine airspace but was instructed by Ukraine air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet upon entry, it said in a statement late on Friday.

"MH17 filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet throughout Ukrainian airspace. This is close to the 'optimum' altitude," the airline said.

"However, an aircraft's altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground. Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet."

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was downed in Ukraine on Thursday.

(Reporting by Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Editing by Robert Birsel)