Air France expands no-fly zone over North Korea after near-miss missile | News | DW | 03.08.2017
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Air France expands no-fly zone over North Korea after near-miss missile

The carrier has taken "precautionary measures" after a North Korean ICBM last week fell just 100 kilometers from a flight's trajectory path. Air France has already banned its planes from flying directly over North Korea.

A spokesman for the Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, of which the Air France airline is a subsidiary, revealed on Thursday that a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) had last week just missed a Boeing 777 passenger flight carrying more than 320 people.

Flight 293 to Paris had just taken off from Tokyo's Haneda airport on Saturday when the Pyongyang's latest ICBM test fell to earth just 100 kilometers away from the airplane's trajectory path, the spokesman said, citing flight data provided by Japan.

While the carrier said in a statement that such a distance didn't signal any immediate danger to aircraft, Air France will nevertheless expand its no-fly zone around North Korea as a "precautionary measure."

Watch video 00:32

North Korea claims successful ICBM launch

"Having learned of this missile test we have decided to establish a wider non-flyover zone to move further away from North Korean territory," Air France said in a statement.

The company said it had already banned flights from passing directly over the reclusive state. It stressed that "In cooperation with the authorities, Air France constantly analyses potentially dangerous flyover zones and adapts its flight plans accordingly."

Meanwhile, flights heading to the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka are due to take an additional 10 to 30 minutes.

North Korea's latest show of strength

The international community condemned North Korea's latest ICBM testsinto the Sea of Japan. Pyongyang subsequently boasted that the tests demonstrated its ability to launch an attack on the US mainland.

The US has yet to outline its response to the North Korea threat. However, on Wednesday, the US issued a travel ban prohibiting all American citizens from travelling to North Korea. It also warned all US nationals in the North to leave the country by the time the ban kicks in on September 1. 

Infografik North Korea's missile ranges

dm/gsw (AFP, AP)

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