The United States aviation agency does not point to the “no flight” zone around North Korea – Sources


MONTREAL (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 said on Thursday. sources familiar with the ideas of the organization.

Airlines are already avoiding North Korea's airspace and some have relocated flights to avoid portions of the Sea of ​​Japan due to missile tests.

European airlines Air France KLM SA and Lufthansa did so in August, while Singapore Airlines Ltd said on Friday that its flight routes were not close to the trajectories of the missiles because they had been avoiding the northern part of the Sea of ​​Japan since July.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on Monday that the crew of a flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong reported a possible sighting of a missile re-entry of North Korea's last test on November 29.

In a statement, the airline said the plane was far from the location and there were no plans to change the flight routes at this stage. Data from the FlightRadar24 flight tracking website show that flight path CX893 was over land in Japan, east of the Sea of ​​Japan.

OPSGROUP, which provides airline safety guidance, said in September that the western portion of Japanese airspace is an area of ​​risk due to multiple re-entries of North Korean missiles in the same area, according to its website.

The Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Alexandre de Juniac, was quoted in the South China Morning Post on Thursday as saying that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "could declare a no-fly zone " in the region.

Montreal-based ICAO 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.

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.

An IATA spokeswoman said on Thursday by email that De Juniac's remarks referred to the airline business group's support for a recent ICAO decision to "strongly condemn the continued launching of ballistic missiles by Korea's North on international air routes. " 19659012] While ICAO urged airlines to take precautions, the agency does not advocate a no-fly zone, as such a move would be detrimental to carriers and it is not clear where North Korea will fire missiles during the tests.

"It's 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.

Reports by Allison Lampert in Montreal; additional reports from Jamie Freed in Singapore; Michael Perry's edition

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