Air France expanding ‘non-flyover’ area around North Korea following ICBM test – National

An Air France flight en route to Paris from Tokyo flew over the area where North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) would eventually make contact with the Sea of Japan, 10 minutes before impact, according to a report.

Citing an unnamed U.S. official, ABC News reported that Air France Flight 293 was travelling from Japan to France with 323 people on board around the time North Korea conducted Friday’s ICBM test.

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Friday’s ICBM test lasted about 45 minutes and the missile reached an altitude of about 3,700 kilometres before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.

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Live flight tracking website Flight Aware shows Air France’s travel route, placing the aircraft in the area where the ICBM was believed to have made splashdown in the Sea of Japan.

According to CNN, Flight 293 was just over 100 kilometres from the impact site, or about seven minutes of flight time.

In a statement to Global News, an Air France spokesperson confirmed “the missile could have fallen into the sea at more than one hundred kilometers from the airplane’s trajectory.”

”Even if this distance was proven, it would not question the safety of the flight,” Herve Erschler said in the statement. “Moreover, in cooperation with the authorities, Air France constantly analyzes potentially dangerous flyover zones and adapts its flight plans accordingly.”

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According to CNN, two fixed air travel routes pass within 16 kilometres of where the missile believed to have made contact with the water.

Air France told Global News that it plans to change its travel routes.

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“At this stage, as a precautionary measure, the company has decided to expand the non-flyover area around North Korea, a country that it does not overfly,” Erschler said.

Citing Korean Central News Agency, the Associated Press reported North Korea leader Kim Jong Un supervised the latest test and expressed “great satisfaction” as a result of the successful launch.

Experts believe Friday’s missile test shows that North Korea theoretically has the ability to reach major U.S. cities.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists reported shortly after Friday’s test, that based on the preliminary numbers of flight time and distance travelled, if the rocket was launched at a “standard trajectory” this missile would have a reach of just over 10,000 kilometres.

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On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to deal with North Korea’s weapons program.

“We will handle North Korea,” Trump told reporters. “We’re going to be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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