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North Korea ballistic missile test raises flight safety concerns

North Korea ballistic missile test raises flight safety concerns

North Korea's attempts to develop an ICBM to carry a nuclear warhead to strike the American mainland have put commercial airlines operating in the busy East Asian airspace on alert, even though the chances of a plane colliding with a missile are miniscule.

Singapore Airlines has changed some of its flight routes between Asia and the U.S.in response to North Korea's missile tests, CNNMoney reported.

Singapore Airlines announced this week that they have rerouted a flight from Seoul to Los Angeles.

"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", noted an SIA spokesperson to Channel NewsAsia.

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. Pyongyang said the projectile flew as high as 4,475 kilometers (2,800 miles) before plummeting down into waters off the western coast of Japan.

While Singapore Airlines have continued to avoid the area, a flight crew on a different airline last Wednesday reported seeing North Korea's latest ICBM launch.

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

Korean Air didn't provide details of the flights that saw the "flash", or say where they were at the time of the event.

European airlines Lufthansa and Air France-KLM shifted their paths in August after two North Korean test launches in July.

North Korea launched an ICBM last week that was witnessed by a passenger plane's flight crew.

Under the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization-a United Nations agency that oversees air safety-nations launching threats to air safety must "issue risk advisories regarding any threats to the safety of civilian aircraft operating in their airspace".


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