North Korea's rocket plans prompt Asian airlines to change flight paths

Philippine Airlines planes are parked at Ninoy Aquino international airport in Manila, Philippines, March 3, 2007. AFP/Getty Images

(AP) MANILA, Philippines - Some Asian airlines plan to change flight paths for several routes to avoid a rocket North Korea is expected to launch in the next week.

Philippine Airlines said Monday that a dozen of its flights from the United States, Japan and South Korea will fly safely away from the rocket's possible path.

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are changing flight paths on routes connecting Tokyo to Manila, Jakarta and Singapore. Domestic flights will not be affected.

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JAL has four flights a day on the expected rocket launch dates, and airline official Norio Higashimine said each flight will carry more fuel in case of an unexpected route change.

ANA is making similar route changes on five flights.

North Korea says it is launching a satellite between Thursday and April 16, depending on weather. It says the satellite will observe crops and natural resources and denies suspicions that the launch is intended to test long-range missile technology.

Philippine officials have declared a no-fly zone and urged ships and fishing boats to avoid northeastern territorial waters where rocket debris may fall.

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