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Crashed Malaysia plane had clean service record: airline

The Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine killing 298 passengers on board, had an unblemished maintenance record, an airline official said on Friday.

SCHIPHOL: The Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine killing 298 passengers on board, had an unblemished maintenance record, an airline official said on Friday.

"The aircraft had a clean maintenance record," Malaysia Airlines' European vice president Huib Gorter said, adding "all... systems on the aircraft were functioning normally" when contact was lost.

He said the plane underwent maintenance a week ago in Kuala Lumpur at Malaysia Airlines' engineering facilities and was due for another check in September.

Gorter said he could give "no information" on the whereabouts of the plane's so-called black boxes, which carries the flight data which will help investigators in their investigation, saying a technical team was on its way to Kiev.

But the embattled airline's official again insisted that the airspace over Ukraine was declared safe by airline regulators.

"Many airlines were flying at that point of time through that airspace. It was a tragic incident that could have happened to any of us," he said.

"This usual flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the crossing was not ... subject to restrictions," he added.

The crash is the Netherlands' second-worst air disaster to date.

The worst came in 1977 when 238 Dutch citizens died at Tenerife in the Canary Islands when two Boeing 747s collided with the loss of 582 lives.

The crash is a fresh blow to the flag carrier which, along with the Malaysian government, is still struggling to provide answers on the disappearance of flight MH370 on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

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