North Korea requests opening of new international air routes: Report

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it was conducting an internal review as the routes North Korean had in mind would involve flying through South Korea's airspace.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it was conducting an internal review as the routes North Korean had in mind would involve flying through South Korea's airspace.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL -North Korea has submitted a request for the opening of new international air routes with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a South Korean newspaper has reported.

Upon hearing the news from the ICAO, the relevant agencies in South Korea have begun discussing and reviewing the matter, reported Dong-A Ilbo.

According to the ICAO and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Tuesday (May 1), North Korea recently told the ICAO that it wants to open new international air routes.

"North Korea requested opening of air routes that enable it to travel to multiple regions," an ICAO official said in a written interview with the Dong-A Ilbo.

"We need cooperation from our member countries in the Asia-Pacific, European and the North Atlantic regions."

But the ICAO did not reveal details on the air routes North Korea wants to open.

The ICAO sought South Korea's views about the new air routes North Korea requested in March.

An official with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said the ministry was conducting an internal review as the routes North Korean had in mind would involve flying through South Korea's airspace.

Meanwhile, North Korea said it is willing to open its flight information region (FIR) to South Korea, reported Dong-A Ilbo.

The aviation industry says the opening of North Korea's FIR will help South Korean airliners save 16 billion won a year in gas.

South Korean airliners have to make a detour around North Korea when flying to the United States and Russia.

If they are allowed to pass through North Korea's air space, they can slash 200km to 500km in flight distance for long-haul flights from Incheon to the United States.