Flights rerouted to avoid N Korea rocket

2012-04-10 14:07

Tokyo - Asian airlines said they will divert planes from the intended flight path of North Korea's rocket as shipping in the area was warned on Tuesday to beware of falling debris.

Japan's two largest carriers, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said they will alter the route of flights between Tokyo and Southeast Asian cities including Manila, Jakarta and Singapore during the planned rocket launch window.

Philippine Airlines said it "plans to reroute some of its flights in view of the possible effects on a portion of Philippine territory of the satellite launch of North Korea within the month."

The moves came as Philippine air control authorities declared a no fly zone in airspace where North Korea's rocket was projected to pass, a Japanese transport ministry official told AFP.

"The Japanese side are also preparing to issue a 'notice to airmen' that warns them not to enter a no fly zone set by the Philippine authorities," he said.

"These no fly zone-related notices should apply to all international carriers," he added.

The re-routing comes as North Korea ramps up its preparations for what it says is a peaceful satellite launch, but what Japan and its Western allies claim is a disguised missile test.

Pyongyang insists the launch, which is planned for some time between April 12 and 16 to mark the centenary of the birth of late founding president Kim Il-Sung, is its right.

The first stage

But countries around the globe have condemned the plan, which they say will contravene the UN resolutions.

South Korea has vowed to shoot down the rocket if it strays into its territory. Japan has said it may do likewise.

The South's military plans to deploy destroyers armed with missiles to the Yellow Sea to track the rocket.

The transport ministry in Seoul said it would provide up-to-date information to shipping on the rocket launch.

All 15 maritime traffic control centres will be placed on alert from Wednesday, issuing navigation warnings every two hours to protect vessels operating in the Yellow Sea, it said.

The first stage of the rocket is expected to fall in waters 170km west of Gunsan in the southwest of South Korea, it said.

Japan's coast guard on Tuesday began issuing warnings to ships in the area to be on the lookout for falling debris from the rocket.

"We are announcing by radio the expected time and places where falling objects could appear," coast guard spokesman Yoshiyuki Terakado said.

Coast guard officials will issue the warning every day in Japanese and English until the launch is confirmed, he said.

Naval forces

In the Philippines, commercial fishing vessels have been told to remain in port during the launch window.

Office of Civil Defence chief Benito Ramos said evacuation plans had also been put in place in case debris fell on the Philippines' island of Luzon.

"Our concern is that in a worst case scenario the trajectory [of the rocket] deviates by even a few degrees, it could jettison its booster over mainland Luzon and there could be a lot of people affected," he said.

The Philippine navy has deployed ships northeast of Luzon.

Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said: "I don't think there is anyone who can exactly say where the rocket [debris] will land, so we are working in the context of estimates. Our naval forces have already been given heads up to be on alert."

"As we speak now, plans are being put in place relative to contingencies that could happen. The ships are going to be there in case there is a need for assistance just in case vessels get hit," he said.

  • Jim - 2012-04-10 15:42

    Leave it to the A-HOLE MEDIA to blow things out of proportion!

      Mark - 2012-04-10 16:20

      Jim gedra jou self.

      RobertRicciJr - 2012-04-10 18:08

      Media? Asian Airlines, Philippines, South Korea and Japan made the reports, the media is just reporting it. The media isn't re-routing flights.

  • Gord - 2012-04-10 15:43

    Just think about this Obama grandstanding. Chances of a plane being hit by NK rocket,,,,,,,,,,,,about 100 quadrillion to 1.

      Aunti - 2012-04-10 17:56

      Splash Down will be Salt Lake City.

      Grant - 2012-04-11 02:26

      Gord, where does Obama feature in this report?

      thitos - 2012-04-11 11:49

      He features in every sentence. Asian airlines (read Obama) said they will divert planes South Korea(read Obama) has vowed to shoot down the rocket

      Mano - 2012-04-11 16:46

      moron, they aren't concerned with the rocket directly hitting aeroplanes, but it's debris. i don't know much about rockets and neither do you, so shut up.

  • Joe - 2012-04-10 16:01

    When you think about all of the ships and all of the planes sailing and flying in the direct path of this missle... I don't think it's imprudent to issue warnings to avoid this "space" during this missle launch. If this "bottle rocket" is as successful as the rest of their tests, chances are this thing will blow up and/or go off course. Who knows where the debris will land then?!

  • Needalogin - 2012-04-10 16:01

    Fortunately, since it is a Korean rocket, traffic only had to be diverted from a very shallow, arcing path, along a time premature to the scheduled launch time their partner preferred.

  • Proudly - 2012-04-10 16:23

    What say China?

      angel.moonsamy - 2012-04-11 12:25

      China wants a photo of rocket so it can make its own ? Lol

  • Monica - 2012-04-10 17:22

    sell the fear

  • Clayton - 2012-04-10 17:46

    Gotta love it when a great socialist county cant feed its own people but can launch a rocket!!! wow isnt Communism great!!!!

      Gordon - 2012-04-10 18:32

      Look at us!

      Eva - 2012-04-11 11:51

      Yes Gordon, but our president can only launch one rocket. No need to divert flights...

  • Aunti - 2012-04-10 17:53

    Does it have enough range to hit Los Angles or San Francisco? How about communist Boston?

  • Gordon - 2012-04-10 18:31

    Makes perfect sense, good thinking.

  • Throw - 2012-04-10 21:25

    Why are we letting them launch it in the first place? Cut their food aid.

  • lbclements - 2012-04-10 22:37

    15,000 150MM artillery pieces are loaded and aimed at Seoul right now. Seoul was lost and won 4 times between 1950-53. Who needs nukes?

  • Geoff - 2012-04-11 00:17

    In my experience the best way to handle a toddler throwing a hissy-fit is to completely ignore them as long as they stay put in the location the parents choose. Step out of line, get paddled then ignored again. Same for North Korea. They are impoverished, corrupt and powerless. Ignore them. If they step out of line, squash them. Then continue to ignore them (the regime) or if the perps are all dead, launch a humanitarian mission to rescue all the starving peasants. Just common sense... that's all I'm sayin'.

      Fred - 2012-04-11 00:28

      The worst example of parenting I've read in a long time, and equally negative political strategy. What are you thinking man? We're supposed to be creating heaven on Earth, increasing the love, not reactionary violence and apathy.

      Victoria - 2012-04-11 09:10

      Ai Fred that's what is wrong with the world today. To little discipline and accountability for our actions. Don't get me wrong, love is important however you do not shower an ill-discipline child with love, you first hand out punishment and then love. Geoff I agree with you 100%.

      Fred - 2012-04-12 07:00

      Regrettably you're part of creating violence in the world. The formula for all growth, ALL GROWTH, is: Recognize, Acknowledge, Feel Remorse, Forgive, and Choose to Change. It is not: Recognize, Acknowledge, Feel Remorse, Punish, and Choose to Change. Think about it. How easy was it for you to change after being punished?

  • saxor - 2012-04-11 06:53

    Good Job North Korea

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-11 09:41

    Destroy the rocket launcher, easiest solution.

  • Dave - 2012-04-11 13:31

    Japan and S Korea must attempt to shoot the rocket as its not aiming them.If they do that,they'll be commiting suicide.

  • Bob - 2012-04-11 18:11

    U.S. and japan have several anti-missile ships into place ahead of North Korea's rocket launch! It would not be a good ideal for a plane to get in the way if the trajectory [of the rocket] deviates by even a few degrees,it will be shot down long before it heads towards the west!!The KOREAN Missile Crisis-2012

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