N. Korean missile risk leads airlines to change routes

By Won Ho-jung

Published : Dec 7, 2017 - 18:01
Updated : Dec 7, 2017 - 18:01

Airlines operating routes between Korea and the US are changing flight paths to avoid areas that may be exposed to missile launches from North Korea.

The first airline recently to take such a safety precaution was Singapore Airlines, which confirmed a flight path for its route between Incheon Airport and Los Angeles was changed after North Korea‘s missile launch on July 27 earlier this year. 

(Singapore Airlines)

Korean carrier Asiana Airlines also changed flight paths on some of its routes between Korea and the US in 2010 in order to avoid the risk of being hit by an unexpected missile. 

“There are no current routes that fly through a dangerous zone,” said an Asiana Airlines official.

Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air said that although it had not yet taken steps to change flight paths, it is carefully monitoring the situation, stressing that its current flight paths pose “absolutely no danger to passenger safety.”

North Korea, which is a member nation of the International Civil Aviation Organization, is required to provide advance notice of any activity that may pose a threat to the safety of civilian aircraft. However, it has failed to give prior notice before its various missile tests this year.

At the latest launch on Nov. 29, flight crews on planes run by airlines such as Korean Air and Cathay Pacific reported sightings of missile activity while in the air. 

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)


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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation