North Korea

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
The primary risk is from debris from missile re-entries striking aircraft overflying the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. North Korea regularly conducts unannounced missile tests in this area. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it.

The US prohibits flights across all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. Several other countries have airspace warnings in place which advise caution due to the risk posed by unannounced rocket launches.

Major events:
Oct 2022: North Korea fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan - the first to incur on Japanese airspace since 2017.
2017: North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles. Both of these landed in the Sea of Japan, well inside the Fukuoka Flight Information Region (Japanese airspace), and significantly, at least one did not re-enter the atmosphere intact – meaning that a debris field of missile fragments passed through the airspace, not just one complete missile.
2015: North Korea gradually stopped notifying ICAO of missile launches, so that aircraft could avoid the launch and splashdown areas.

Read: North Korea Missile Threat, Oct 2022 (OPSGROUP article)

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
UK Notam EGTT V0034/22 03 Nov 2022 31 Jan 2023
Canada Notam CZQX H3658/22 19 Oct 2022 18 Jan 2023
USA FAA Information Note North Korea 12 Oct 2022 Ongoing
USA SFAR 79 07 Sep 2020 18 Sep 2023
France AIC 24/22 09 Apr 2020 Ongoing
Germany AIC 20/22 19 Dec 2019 Ongoing
OPSGROUP Note To Members: Japan Missile Risk 09 Aug 2017 Ongoing
Source: UK
Issued: 03-Nov-22, valid until: 31 Jan 2023
Plain English: Due to the risk posed by unannounced rocket launches, operators should not enter the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR, and should exercise caution over the Sea of Japan.
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT - HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN NORTH KOREA / SEA OF JAPAN. UK REGISTERED AIR OPERATORS ARE RECOMMENDED NOT TO ENTER FIR PYONGYANG (ZKKP) AND ARE ADVISED TO TAKE POTENTIAL RISK INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR RISK ASSESSMENT AND ROUTING DECISIONS OVER THE SEA OF JAPAN (WITHIN THE GEOGRAPHICAL COORDINATES OF 1280000E AND 1400000E DEGREES OF LONGITUDE). POTENTIAL RISK FROM UNANNOUNCED MISSILE TESTS. CONTACT UK DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT +44 (0)207 0826639 OR +44 (0)207 9445999 OUT OF HOURS. 2022-11-0405/AS6. SFC - UNL.
Source: Canada
Issued: 19-Oct-22, valid until: 18 Jan 2023
Plain English: Operators should not enter the airspace of North Korea due to risk posed by unannounced rocket launches. (Supersedes info in AIC 16/22 which just "advises caution" in the airspace).
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO THE SECURITY SITUATION IN NORTH KOREA. CANADIAN AIR OPERATORS AND OWNERS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN CANADA ARE ADVISED NOT TO ENTER THE PYONGYANG FIR (ZKKP), DUE TO POTENTIAL RISK TO AVIATION FROM BALLISTIC MISSILE LAUNCHES WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. THIS NOTAM SUPERSEDES THE RESTRICTIONS CONCERNING NORTH KOREA ISSUED IN AIC 16/22. 19 OCT 15:49 2022 UNTIL 18 JAN 15:45 2023 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 19 OCT 15:49 2022
Source: USA
Issued: 12-Oct-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: North Korea’s continued failure to provide advance warning of missile test launches presents an enduring safety hazard to civil aviation. Further missile test launches are likely, some of which could travel beyond the boundaries of the Pyongyang FIR and into adjacent airspace. Operators should maintain close contact with ATC and follow instructions.
Title: FAA Information Note - DPRK - Continued Unannounced Missile Tests Pose Risks to Civil Aviation

Click the link for full text.
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 79
Issued: 07-Sep-20, valid until: 18 Sep 2023
Plain English: Flights are prohibited in all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan, due to the threat posed by unannounced North Korean missile launches and air defense weapons systems.
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: France
Reference: AIC 24/22
Issued: 09-Apr-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Caution advised for all North Korea overflights, especially in the maritime part over the Sea of Japan (due to unannounced rocket launches).
From 09/04/2020 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested to exercise particular caution during flight operations in the airspace of North Korea (ZKKP FIR (PYONGYANG)), especially its maritime part.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 20/22
Issued: 19-Dec-19, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Potential risk to overflights of North Korean airspace (ZKKP FIR) due to launching of test missiles without prior notice.
Level 1 (lowest risk). Hazardous situation in North-Korea. Civil German air operators are advised to take potential risk into account in their risk assessment and routing decisions within FIR PYONGYANG (ZKKP). Potential risk from ground to ground ballistic weaponry test firings without prior notice.
Source: OPSGROUP
Issued: 09-Aug-17, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Since 2015, North Korea has been test-launching missiles with increasing regularity. The absolute lack of warning, coupled with an emerging picture of a focus area for re-entry, creates a risk to flight operations in the western portion of Japan’s Fukuoka FIR over the Sea of Japan. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it. Check routings carefully for arrivals/departures to Europe from Japan, especially if planning airways which connect with the UHHH/Khabarovsk FIR at waypoints IGROD and AVGOK.
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