Airlines Are Rerouting Flights to Avoid North Korean Missiles

Cheryl Sanders
December 7, 2017

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

US officials told CNN that the re-entry vehicle likely failed during North Korea's most recent missile test, and the crew of a Cathay Pacific flight claims to have seen the missile explode during re-entry, although David Wright, a senior physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, suspects that the crew actually saw stage separation and second-stage ignition during the ascent.

The chances of one of Kim's missiles actually hitting a civilian plane is very low, experts said.

Pyongyang reported that its latest missile flew as high as 2,800 miles. That aircraft was crossing the Sea of Japan (the East Sea, as it's known in the Koreas) on a flight arriving to Incheon from Los Angeles.

Cathay said there was no current plan to change air routes, saying its plane was "far from the event location".

While the UN's Civil Aviation Organization mandates that nations must issue warnings whenever they take an action that could threaten commercial flights traveling through their airspace, South Korea has said North Korea often neglects to do so, according to CNN.

Last Wednesday, a series of ballistic missiles that the North Korea regime claimed to be able to reach the United States mainland were launched in defiance of stern warnings and global sanctions.

The ICBM was sacked on a lofted trajectory rather than a minimum energy trajectory, putting more structural stress on the missile's re-entry vehicle but reducing the duration and intensity of temperature-based stresses.

Each time North Korea launches a missile, it releases pictures that usually feature Kim Jong Un in an observation stand. Spotting this stand reliably helps the U.S. determine where and when North Korea may be plotting a launch, according to Panda.

In August, Air France-KLM expanded its no-fly zone around North Korea after a missile test.

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