Asia Minute: North Korean Missiles and Civilian Airlines

Dec 7, 2017

Credit Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a little more than a week since North Korea fired its latest ballistic missile test. While governments discuss further sanctions, one industry is focusing on another issue: airline routes. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The last time North Korea launched a missile, the folks at U.S. Pacific Command were not the only ones to take notice.

Pilots aboard a Cathay Pacific flight reported seeing what they believed were the remnants of the event. 

The Hong Kong based airline sent out a staff note earlier this week sharing the communications from the cockpit, with the crew saying “we witnessed the DPRK missile blow up and fall apart near our current location. We advised air traffic control and operations normal. Just letting you know.”

No one flies over North Korean airspace, but the area around it is quite busy.

The South China Morning Post says radar information shows other airlines were also flying in the general area of the test—including two Taiwanese airlines flying to Taipei from Vancouver and Seattle….and a Japanese airline flying from Frankfurt to Tokyo.

Bloomberg reports two Korean Airline flights from the west coast of the United States also witnessed a flash from the launch.

None of the airlines plan any changes to their flight patterns.

A spokesperson for The International Air Transport Association told reporters this week that North Korea has an obligation to provide advance notice of any missile tests, but not surprisingly, North Korea has never done so.