Singapore Airlines reroutes some flights to avoid North Korean missiles

Singapore Airlines reroutes some flights to avoid North Korean missiles

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Singapore Airlines has taken steps to change the flight path for its Incheon-Los Angeles flights, in response to security threats arising from North Korea's missile tests. (Photo: AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines has taken steps to change the route of its Seoul-Los Angeles flights since July this year as a safety precaution in response to North Korea's missile tests.

The move came after the July 27 missile launch by North Korea into the Sea of Japan, Singapore Airlines said on Tuesday (Dec 5) in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia.

North Korea’s missile testing, which is often conducted without prior notice as required under international agreements, has caused some concern for commercial airlines.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October condemned North Korea for the repeated launching of ballistic missiles, saying they seriously threatened the safety of international civil aviation.

North Korea, which joined the ICAO in 1977, is obliged to give prior notice of any activity that may threaten the safety of civilian aircraft.

The country has accelerated its missile programme this year, firing 23 missiles in 16 tests since February, according to reports.

The most recent, on Nov 29, flew about 1,000 km before splashing down within Japan's maritime Economic Exclusion Zone.

The crew on at least three commercial flights on Korean Air and Cathay Pacific have reported sighting the missile in the air.

A spokesman for Cathay Pacific was reported in the media as saying that the crew “witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location".

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia on the safety precautions it was taking, Singapore Airlines said that its planes were not affected as it had already taken steps in July to reroute flight paths.

"Singapore Airlines is aware of the reports on the sighting of the North Korean missiles and is closely monitoring the situation,” a spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.

“Currently, our flight routings do not transverse in the vicinity of the missile trajectory as we have taken earlier steps to avoid the northern part of the Sea of Japan.

"The safety of our passengers and crew are our upmost priority and we will re-route our flights when necessary," it said. 

Source: CNA/aj