North Korea

Risk Level: Three - Caution

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We removed our airspace warning guidance for North Korea in May 2018. Prior to this, we had identified there was a risk posed by unannounced long-range missile tests in the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR, and we recommended avoiding the airspace entirely. But following the complete turnaround in political stance of North Korea in the months leading up to May 2018, it was our opinion that further test launches of missiles through the Pyongyang FIR were most unlikely. Around the same time, North Korea also agreed with ICAO that it would provide adequate warning of all “activity hazardous to aviation\" within its airspace.The U.S. continues to prohibit flights across all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
France AIC 03/19 24 Jan 2019 Ongoing
USA SFAR 79 18 Sep 2018 18 Sep 2020
USA Notam KICZ A0018/18 18 Sep 2018 18 Sep 2020
USA US FAA Background Notice 18 Sep 2018 18 Sep 2020
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 08 Oct 2015 Ongoing
Source: France
Reference: AIC 03/19
Issued: 24-Jan-19, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Caution advised for all flights to North Korea, and across its airspace.
From 24/01/2019 and until further notice, French air carriers are requested to exercise particular caution during flight operations in the airspace of North Korea (ZKKP FIR (PYONGYANG)), especially its maritime part.
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 79
Issued: 18-Sep-18, valid until: 18 Sep 2020
Plain English: Flights are prohibited in all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan.
This action amends the prohibition of flight operations in the Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except where the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier. From February 17, 1998, until November 3, 2017, the FAA prohibited U.S. civil aviation operations in the Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) west of 132 degrees east longitude under SFAR No. 79 due to the hazardous situation created by North Korea's military capabilities and its rules of engagement. On November 3, 2017, the FAA issued KICZ Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) A0023/17, prohibiting U.S. civil aviation operations in the entire Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) due to the hazardous situation created by North Korean military capabilities and activities, including unannounced North Korean missile launches and air defense weapons systems. This amendment to SFAR No. 79 incorporates the November 3, 2017 NOTAM's expanded flight prohibition into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The FAA finds this action necessary due to continued hazards to U.S. civil aviation operations in the entire Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP).
Source: USA
Issued: 18-Sep-18, valid until: 18 Sep 2020
Plain English: This is just a pointer Notam, directing people to read the SFAR which contains complete information about the US restrictions on North Korean airspace.
A0018/18 NOTAM KICZ SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FLIGHT PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE PYONGYANG FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) (ZKKP)

14 CFR 91.1615 SPECIAL FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATION (SFAR) NO. 79 PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE PYONGYANG FIR (ZKKP) WAS PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER ON 18 SEP 2018 AND WAS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
Source: USA
Issued: 18-Sep-18, valid until: 18 Sep 2020
Plain English: This gives more information about the North Korean test missile launches that have occurred since 2015 which led the US to publish its updated SFAR prohibiting flights in all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan.
FAA Background Information Regarding U.S. Civil Aviation – Sea of Japan and Fukuoka Flight Information Region (RJJJ)

North Korea maintains the capability to conduct unannounced ballistic missile test launches with little or no warning. Since 2015, North Korean missile test launches have increased in frequency and range, with missiles traveling beyond the boundaries of the Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) on multiple occasions. Some of these ballistic missiles impacted in the Sea of Japan or traveled over Japan, impacting in the Pacific Ocean east of Japan within the Fukuoka FIR (RJJJ). These unannounced missile launches pose a potential safety hazard to U.S. civil aviation operating over the Sea of Japan and in the Fukuoka FIR (RJJJ). Note: The FAA currently prohibits U.S. civil aviation operations in the entire Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP) at all altitudes under Special Federal Aviation Regulation No. 79 and KICZ NOTAM A0023/17.

The last unannounced ballistic missile launch took place on 28 November 2017. In 2017, North Korea conducted multiple unannounced ballistic missile test launches in support of its strategic weapons development program, to include testing new intercontinental and intermediate range missile systems. Of at least 18 ballistic missiles test launched during 2017, ten of the missiles flew into the Fukuoka FIR (RJJJ). Most of these launches resulted in the missiles impacting in the Sea of Japan.

On 28 November 2017, North Korea conducted an unannounced launch of a single intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on a high lofted trajectory that impacted in the Sea of Japan within the Japanese Fukuoka (RJJJ) Flight Information Region (FIR). Two of the missile tests involved trajectories that overflew Japan and impacted in the Pacific Ocean in the Fukuoka FIR (RJJJ) east of Japan. On 14 September 2017, North Korea launched a single intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) that overflew portions of Hokkaido in the Japanese island chain and impacted the Pacific Ocean east of Japan. On 28 August 2017, North Korea launched an IRBM that overflew portions of Hokkaido, impacting in the Pacific Ocean east of Japan, in the Fukuoka FIR, near the boundary with the Oakland Oceanic FIR (KZAK). North Korea also conducted an extensive number of unannounced ballistic missile launches during 2016 that impacted the Sea of Japan in the Fukuoka FIR (RJJJ). North Korea did not notify ICAO or publish a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) warning of any missile launches in 2016 or 2017.

North Korea could resume unannounced ballistic missile test launch operations during periods of heightened tension, combined military exercises, and/or significant North Korean national holidays.

U.S. operators are advised to use caution when planning to operate over the Sea of Japan and in the Fukuoka (RJJJ) FIR.
Source: UK
Issued: 08-Oct-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: There is a risk to aircraft overflying ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR, and the Sea of Japan.
Hazardous Situation in North Korea

Potential risk to aviation overflying the territory of North Korea, the Pyongyang Flight Information Region and the Sea of Japan (defined for this purpose as the area lying between 1280000E and 1400000E degrees of longitude) due to continuing but unannounced testing of a range of surface-to-surface missiles.

Operators are advised to take this information into account in their own risk assessments and routing decisions.