Singapore Airlines Apologizes for ‘Insensitive’ Social Update Following MH17 Attack

Skift Take

Singapore Airlines’ intention to quickly communicate with customers was good, but such public updates must be carefully thought through during such a catastrophic event.

— Samantha Shankman

Singapore Airlines Ltd. apologized for “insensitive” Facebook and Twitter posts responding to queries about flight routes over Ukraine before offering condolences to passengers and crew of Malaysian Air Flight 17.

The condolence message for the downed Malaysian Airline System Bhd. flight was posted almost an hour after Singapore Air said in a Twitter post that it’s not flying over Ukraine. On Facebook, the gap was more than an hour.

“We are aware that our Facebook and Twitter update on Friday morning may have come across as insensitive to some,” Singapore Air said on its Facebook account yesterday. “The post was in response to many requests from our customers who had asked for information about our flight routes for their upcoming flights with us.”

Computer-generated images supplied by FlightRadar24, which monitors planes in real time, show Singapore Air Flight SQ351 from Copenhagen and Air India Ltd. Flight AI113 close to the site of the incident minutes before the incident. Singapore Air, in e-mailed comments to Bloomberg, revised its social-media statements on July 18 to say that it’s “no longer using” the route over the Ukrainian airspace.

Malaysian Air’s Flight 17 was flying to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, carrying 298 people when it was downed over Ukraine on July 17. The disaster comes four months after Malaysian Flight 370 bound for Beijing disappeared without a trace, the longest search mission in civil aviation.

Singapore is located south of Malaysia. The island’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Twitter post shortly after the incident — before Singapore Air’s social media posts — that he was shocked and saddened to hear the news.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyunghee Park in Singapore at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anand Krishnamoorthy at [email protected] Linus Chua, Jake Lloyd-Smith.

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