Singapore Airlines Issues Odd Statement On North Korea

Earlier today Singapore Airline’s Facebook page posted an unusual warning on its Facebook page. Around 4:00pm Singapore time the airline posted the following:


North Korea is reportedly planning a rocket launch in the coming days. We wish to reassure our customers that none of our flights will be operating in airspace that may be affected by the planned launch.


Singapore Airlines’ warning is unusual for a number of reasons.  The first and foremost reason Singapore Airlines passengers have little reason to worry about North Korea’s rocket launch is that Singapore Airlines flies around North Korean airspace rather than through it, as do most airlines, except those flying into North Korea.


The airspace around North Korea is restricted and considered hostile, causing the majority of the airlines around the world, including Singapore Airlines, to create flight plans ensuring their aircraft stay out of North Korean airspace.


The second factor that stands out about Singapore Airlines warning is this … North Korea is launching a satellite into space atop a Unha (Galaxy) 3 rocket.  While the Unha 3 rocket based on the Taepoding 2 intercontinental ballistic missile, the rocket itself and its payload are of no danger to any airliners.   The only real risk to aircraft in the area … and there is not much air traffic in the vicinity of the Musudan-ri launch site, in the North Hamgyong Province, along the Sea of Japan … is the rocket coming down.   In North Korea’s last attempt to put a satellite into space, with Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2, the Unha rocket failed to reach orbit, with the rocket’s first stage falling into the Sea of Japan and the remainder of the rocket falling into the Pacific Ocean, roughly 2,390 miles from the launch site.


So … if you are planning to fly with Singapore Airlines this week, expect your flights to arrive and depart on time, likely with no diversions to avoid rocket parts falling from the sky.


If you are flying any airline from Japan, know that Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) are adjusting their flight paths, and plan to operate normally, with no delay and no cause for alarm.


Happy Flying!






  1. Actually will be flying south – towards South China Sea and Philippines. Don’t think North Korean airspace is the problem – it’s between there and the Philippines that people are avoiding.

  2. Fish:

    Singapore Air is right in issuing this alert, as the rocket trajectory does indeed cross directly into the flight path of many of their scheduled flights. This is unlike other tests before, as this is a launch to achieve orbit. The most important reason for concern is that this is a two stage rocket, with the first stage planned to be dropped near Taiwan and Philippines. This is a significant danger, in addition to the entire rocket simply failing.

    For the flight path, refer to this image:

    and a fascinating analysis and discussion on this launch:

  3. According to the North Korea, they are not planning on launching over the Sea of Japan, but actually south, west of South Korea for a “sun-synchronous” orbit. to reach a sun-synchronous orbit they would have to launch directly toward the192.3 [degree] azimuth. (north koreas published flight path in actually its been calculated that the real flight path to actually get to the 192.3 azimuth will lead a flight path of, much closer to western south korea and east of shanghai

    I think you may have your launch sites mixed up since this is a new site.

    I do think Singapore’s announcement a bit off, but nice to get out infront of something that could be misunderstood by people not very familiar with the situation. As such, north korea did raise a “NOTAM” (notice to airmen) for both shipping companies and airlines warning them of the flight path, which could be misconstrued by the general public…..

  4. partnership between north Korea and Singapore will be very comfortable and useful for passengers and in general for population. I love this idea and agree with them.

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