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Malaysia Airlines retires MH17 flight code

Malaysia Airlines said Sunday it would retire flight code MH17 as a "mark of respect" for the 298 people killed in a jet crash in violence-wracked eastern Ukraine. 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines said Sunday it would retire flight code MH17 as a "mark of respect" for the 298 people killed in a jet crash in violence-wracked eastern Ukraine. The daily Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur service will instead take on the code MH19 from July 25.

"In light of the recent incident, Malaysia Airlines' Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur service, MH17 flight number will be retired out of respect for our crew and passengers," the national flag carrier said in a statement. "There are no changes to the frequency of our services, and we will continue to operate daily services between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur. Our thoughts and prayers remains with the families of our colleagues and passengers of MH17."

Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is believed to have been shot out of the sky by a surface-to-air missile, crashing in rebel-held eastern Ukraine Thursday with 298 people on board. 

The flight code retirement is the second the airline has had to do in four months.  It retired flight codes MH370 and MH371 in the aftermath of the March 8 disappearance of Kuala-Lumpur-Beijing flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board.

No trace of the MH370 plane has been found, a mystery that has severely damaged Malaysia's image abroad and left furious relatives of passengers deeply anguished and demanding answers.

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