Flights at US airports halted during North Korea missile test

People walk past a TV screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test, at a railway station in Seoul on Jan 11, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Flights out of airports on the US West Coast were briefly halted by aviation regulators as a precaution on Monday after North Korea launched a high-speed missile in a test.

The so-called ground stop, which paused departures from an unspecified number of airports, lasted less than 15 minutes.

North Korea's missile flew at almost 10 times the speed of sound into waters off its eastern coast, ratcheting up tensions in the region and with the US.

The Federal Aviation Administration issues ground stops routinely to insure airports and high-altitude flight paths remain orderly. They can occur for weather, volcanic eruptions or any number of reasons.

On Monday afternoon, for example, the FAA ordered a brief halt to flights in the central region of the US as a result of aircraft volume related to the college football championship game in Indianapolis.

The FAA did not immediately respond to questions about whether it has halted flights before as a result of North Korea missile launches.

"We are reviewing the process around this ground stop as we do after all such events," the agency said in the statement.

The military's US Indo-Pacific Command issued a statement on Monday night that the launch did not "pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory."

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