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Malaysia Airlines retires flight number, offers full refunds following MH17 crash

By Karla Cripps, CNN
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
A Malaysia Airlines plane taxis on the runway at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on July 20.
A Malaysia Airlines plane taxis on the runway at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on July 20.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malaysia Airlines offers full refunds, waives change fees following MH17 crash
  • Airline says daily Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur services to continue, but it's retiring the MH17 flight number
  • Singapore Airlines responds to criticism of tweet/FB post concerning Ukraine airspace

(CNN) -- Following last week's Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster, the carrier says it will offer full refunds to travelers who wish to cancel their tickets, while those wanting to postpone their flights can do so without penalty.

"In light of the MH17 incident, Malaysia Airlines will be waiving any change fees for passengers who wish to make changes to their itinerary to any MH destinations," said the airline in a statement.

This includes non-refundable tickets.

MORE: Malaysian plane shot down in Ukraine: What happened?

The airline says passengers have until Thursday, July 24 to cancel or change their tickets, valid for travel until December 31, 2014.

Malaysia endures bitter deja vu

Meanwhile, the airline announced that it's retiring the MH17 flight number out of respect for the 298 people killed on the Boeing 777, believed shot down by a missile in rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine last Thursday.

As of July 25, the new flight number for Malaysia Airlines' Amsterdam (AMS) -- Kuala Lumpur (KUL) service will be MH19.

Though such practices are common after a fatal airline accident, they're not mandatory.

Shortly after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing in March, the carrier renamed the flight MH318.

"There are no changes to the frequency of our services and we will continue to operate daily services between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur," said the airline.

Singapore Airlines apologizes for airspace tweet/FB post

Since the MH17 tragedy, all flights operated by Malaysia Airlines that passed through Ukrainian airspace have been rerouted. Other airlines have taken similar precautions.

"The usual flight route was earlier declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organization," said Malaysia Airlines.

"International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions."

Rival airline Singapore Airlines apologized on Sunday for what many social media users said was an insensitive series of tweets and Facebook postings relating to its own flight path.

"Customers may wish to note that Singapore Airlines flights are not using Ukraine airspace," said the post, which appeared on the airline's Facebook page and Twitter account on July 18.

MORE: Should Malaysia jet have flown over Ukraine?

Responding to criticism of the post on its Facebook page, the airline responded: "We are aware that our Facebook and Twitter update on Friday morning may have come across as insensitive to some.

"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.

"We recognize that the information could have been better communicated and we sincerely apologize if it had offended our customers and anyone else in the online community."

MORE: Malaysia Air faces new, serious threat as company

MORE: 'Moment of truth' for Putin

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