Philippine Airlines, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways have all said they will change flight paths on certain routes this week and next in order to “fly safely away” from any problems due to an expected rocket launch by North Korea. This could translate into slightly longer flights, though not necessarily. UPDATE 4-13-12: The rocket broke apart shortly after launch.
Rocket Changes Course of Asian Flight Paths
All that is known about the launch is that it is expected sometime between April 12 and April 16. According to recent news stories, authorities in North Korea say the satellite which will be launched by the rocket is intended “to observe crops and natural resources” but CNN cites a South Korean intelligence report that says it is probable North Korea will use the “ensuing international condemnation [of the rocket launch] as an excuse to go ahead with a nuclear test” in the northeastern part of that country.
Extra Fuel for ‘Unexpected’ Route Changes
At least flyers won’t have to be wary of a rocket. Philippine Airlines says a dozen of its flights from the United States, Japan and South Korea move away from the rocket’s possible path and JAL and ANA say, their multiple long-haul flights in the region will also change course. Additionally, officials with JAL note that plane will take on extra fuel in cases of an “unexpected” route change.
Domestic flights in the area are not expected to be affected.