N. Korean missile risk leads airlines to change routes
Dec 07 2017 by Desiree Burns
Japan's government is set to compile a supplementary budget of around 2.9 trillion yen ($25.9 billion) for the fiscal year through March to cover spending on missile defense amid tensions over North Korea, and for new economic measures, government officials said Wednesday.
Korean Air said the pilots on two of its flights bound for Seoul "saw a flash and everyone is assuming it should be the missile because of the timing".
Any missile launches must be reported to the International Civil Aviation Organization to assure the safety of civilian aircraft. In early August, Air France expanded their no-fly zone around North Korea after it transpired one of its planes flew close to a North Korean missile path.
The carrier said its planes now don't enter "the vicinity of the missile trajectory", because it changed the route to avoid the northern part of the Sea of Japan, which sits between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Cathay Pacific said Monday passengers and crew on the flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong reported witnessing the flight of the Hwasong-15 ICBM.
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David C. Wright, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a report Tuesday that the Cathay crew most likely had seen the missile's first stage burn out and fall back to earth.
"Singapore Airlines is aware of the reports on the sighting of the North Korean missiles and is closely monitoring the situation", a spokesperson toldChannel NewsAsia. The airlines now reportedly avoid crossing directly over the Sea of Japan when approaching the region from Europe.
Monday's air exercise between the United States and South Korea, called Vigilant Ace, will last for five days.
But the USA, with a network of satellites, drones, and spy planes frequently patrolling the skies above North Korea, spotted the test anyway. Lavrov slammed the comment as a "bloodthirsty tirade".