Amid reports that North Korea is testing nuclear missiles, airlines are rerouting flight paths to avoid North Korean airspace.
Singapore Airlines announced this week that they have rerouted a flight from Seoul to Los Angeles. The airline changed the route back in July after a previous North Korean missile test, according to CNN Money. The new flight route goes further north to avoid the Sea of Japan.
Singapore Airlines Flight Route Map North Korea Seoul Los Angeles Credit: Courtesy of FlightAware
Two other Asian airlines, Cathay Pacific and Korean Air, reported that their pilots saw the November 29 missile test from the cockpit, however neither airline will change their “routes or operating parameters” at this time.
Shortly after the test, a spokesperson for the U.S. Defense Department acknowledged that the North Korean missile “flew through busy airspace used by commercial airliners.”
In August, Air France-KLM expanded its no-fly zone around North Korea after a missile test.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization states that nations have a “responsibility to issue risk advisories regarding any threats to the safety of civilian aircraft operating in their airspace.” However, South Korea says that the North Korean government regularly fails to issue these notices when conducting missile launches.
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Federal regulation from 1997 prohibits all U.S. airlines from flying over the Flight Information Region of Pyongyang. Aircraft can fly into the capital with permission from the U.S. government or Federal Aviation Administration.
Travelers who are concerned should know the chances of an airplane colliding with a missile are extremely low: One safety analyst estimates that it is less than a billion to one.