North Korea missile test without advance notice raises flight safety concerns

A woman walks past a street monitor showing a news report about North Korea's missile launch in Tokyo Japan

Singapore Airlines changed a flight route between South Korea and the United States earlier this year over fears about North Korean missile launches in the Asia-Pacific region, it has emerged.

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.

North Korea tested its new Hwasong-15 (KN-22) intercontinental ballistic missile before dawn last Tuesday, but while the launch came as a surprise for many, the USA intelligence saw it coming. However, South Korea says that the North Korean government regularly fails to issue these notices when conducting missile launches. 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".

Cathay Pacific said the crew of a flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong reported seeing what they thought was the missile re-entering Earth's atmosphere on November 29.

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.

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Singapore Airlines officials made the decision after an Air France plane glided just east of an area where a North Korean missile had flown just minutes earlier in July.

"We have been in contact with relevant authorities and industry bodies as well as with other carriers".

North Korea launched an ICBM last week that was witnessed by a passenger plane's flight crew. "At the moment, no one is changing any routes or operating parameters", Cathay said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization in October had condemned the missile tests as it threatened the safety of commercial flights but it had little effect on the North Korean regime.

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