North Korea missile 'seen by Cathay Pacific airline crew'

North Korea missile 'seen by Cathay Pacific airline crew'

A North Korean ballistic missile was seen by the crew of several airliners last week, aviation authorities said on Wednesday, raising concerns about the threat to civilian flights posed by Pyongyang's unannounced tests.

The news comes after crew from two other Asian airlines-Cathay Pacific and Korean Air-reported seeing what they believed was a ballistic missile while they were in the sky on November 29.

Singapore Airlines changed the route of its Seoul-Los Angeles flights in July due to concerns over North Korean missiles, Singapore's Channel NewsAsia reported Tuesday.

The carrier said its planes now don't enter "the vicinity of the missile trajectory", because it changed the route to avoid the northern part of the Sea of Japan, which sits between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The test-launch raised tension further with South Korea and the United States, who on Monday began their largest ever joint air exercise, which the North has branded an "all-out provocation".

More news: Why Hugh Jackman Said No to Playing James Bond

Any missile launches must be reported to the International Civil Aviation Organization to assure the safety of civilian aircraft.

"There are no current routes that fly through a risky zone", said an Asiana Airlines official.

But US intelligence sources reportedly said they knew three days in advance and watched the missile preparation.

"At the moment, no one is changing any routes or operating parameters", the Hong Kong-based airline said in a statement. "We remain alert and [will] review the situation as it evolves". Air France also announced at the time that it had expanded its no-fly zone over North Korea, after one of its planes flew past the location where an ICBM splashed down 10 minutes later.

It is very unlikely that a plane would be hit by a random missile, though.

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