MONTREAL, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The United Nations aviation agency is not considering the creation of a "no flight" zone around North Korea because the direction of Pyongyang's tests is not predictable, two Sources familiar with the thinking of the organization on Thursday.
The news comes after the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexandre de Juniac, was quoted in the South China Morning Post saying that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "could declare a No-fly zone "in the region.
ICAO based in Montreal can not impose rules, such as ordering countries to close their national airspace, but the regulators of its 191 member states almost always adopt and enforce the rules it establishes for international aviation.
ICAO has condemned North Korea for launching missiles without warning, a measure that could pose a threat to commercial flights.
Airlines are already largely avoiding the airspace controlled by North Korea in the Pyongyang flight information region, one of the sources said.
An IATA spokeswoman said on Thursday that Juniac's comments referred to the airline business group's support for a recent ICAO decision to "strongly condemn the continued launching of ballistic missiles by Korea. North on and near international air routes. " 19659007] While ICAO has asked airlines to take precautions, the agency does not advocate a no-fly zone, because such a move would be detrimental to carriers and it is not clear where North Korea will fire missiles during testing.
"It is so random that (an area without a fly) becomes ineffective," said one of the sources.
Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media. An ICAO spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Tensions in the region have increased markedly in recent months after repeated testing of North Korean missiles in defiance of UN sanctions and the detonation of what Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb on September 3.
On Thursday, two heavy bombers 1B joined the large-scale combat exercises in South Korea.
Missile tests are of concern to civil aviation authorities in the wake of the downing of Malaysia's MH17 flight over Ukraine in 2014. So far, North Korea has not taken into account ICAO requests to notify any launch in advance, one of the sources said.
A site in the ICAO conflict zone, launched as a warning system for airlines to be aware of threats to civil aviation due to MH17, is no longer active. (Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal)