Seoul Diverts Flight Paths Due to N.Korea's Rocket Plan

      March 21, 2012 09:38

      The government will change the routes of some flights and restrict ship navigation during the period North Korea has set for a planned rocket launch.

      The North informed the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization of the plan to launch a rocket ostensibly carrying a satellite into orbit between April 12 and 16. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs on Tuesday said it therefore decided to change flight routes and restrict maritime navigation in affected areas between 7 a.m. and 12 noon daily during that time.

      The North said the rocket will take off from a west coast launch pad in Cholsan, North Pyongan Province. The first-stage propellant rocket is expected to fall in waters 140 km west of the Byeonsan Peninsula on the west coast.

      Two Korean Air passenger airplanes leaving Jeju for Beijing at 8:20 a.m. on April 12 and 14 would normally be flying over the area, so they will be diverted along the Seoul-Jeju route 180 km to the east.

      An average of 17 domestic and foreign cargo ships and some fishing boats pass the area daily. The government will order the cargo ships to keep away and ban fishing during that period.

      Neither South Korean flights nor ships are scheduled to pass waters 190 km east of the Philippines where the second-stage rocket is expected to fall, but the government is ready to divert any that do.

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