More Foreign Airlines Fly Through N.Korea's Flight Info Region

  • By Hong Jun-ki, Choi Won-woo

    December 03, 2018 13:08

    More foreign airlines have taken routes passing through North Korea's flight information region since August.

    Until July, only Russia sent airplanes through the area due to missile and other military threats from the North. But now Germany, the Netherlands and Taiwan also used the route when traveling to and from South Korean airports, according to data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

    The International Civil Aviation Organization designated the sky over the North Korean side of the East Sea as a "danger area" and advised aircraft not to fly through it if at all possible.

    German airplanes resumed flights through the North Korean FIR in August, followed by Dutch aircraft in September and Taiwanese in October. Other countries are more cautious. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration bans civil aviation in the Pyongyang FIR unless otherwise notified until September 2020.

    Seoul has also banned flight through the region for fear of attacks from the North since it slapped sanctions on the regime in May 2010.

    The UN Security Council bans UN member countries from handing out cash to the North Korean regime, so flights through actual North Korean airspace remain impossible because they would incur fees.

    South Korean airlines could save W20.4 billion and 3,898 flight hours a year by passing through North Korean airspace on their way to the U.S. or Europe, but they would have to pay Pyongyang W8 billion a year (US$1=W1,122).

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