April 11, 2012 12:09
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs will step up safety precautions for ships and airplanes in preparation for North Korea's rocket launch between Thursday and next Monday, a spokesman said Tuesday.
The first-stage booster rocket is expected to fall in waters 170 km west of Gunsan, North Jeolla Province and the second into the ocean 140 km east of the Philippines.
All 15 offices of the Vessel Traffic Services Center under the ministry will keep ships traveling in the West Sea informed of the situation every two hours from Wednesday until the rocket launch is completed.
The ministry designated the area where the booster rocket is expected to fall as a no-fly zone and told airlines to take a roundabout route. Two Korean Air passenger planes leaving Jeju for Beijing, which would be flying over the area around 8:20 a.m. on Thursday and Saturday, will be diverted along the Seoul-Jeju route about 180 km to the east, making the flight about 8 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, the Philippine aviation authority will divert flights over waters east of the islands where the second booster rocket is expected to fall, from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. between Thursday and next Monday. As a result, 12 Korean Air flights and 10 Asiana Airlines flights between Incheon and Manila, Busan and Cebu, and Incheon and Cebu will be diverted along a route closer to Taiwan. The diversion will add about 20 minutes of flight time.
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