(CNN Business) – A US official said an unusual ground order was issued for some flights for a short period of time following an alert from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) for a North Korean missile launch.
The official says it was not a national order and that it may have been issued by a regional air traffic control facility.
“Norad HQ issued no warning” regarding a potential threat to the US, according to Captain Pamela Kunze, Norad’s chief spokeswoman.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), responsible for the nation’s air traffic control system, and Norad have not responded to multiple requests for comment from CNN on why some pilots were ordered to land. and they were prevented from taking off from several West Coast airports Monday afternoon, citing an “arrest warrant on national land.”
The Norad spokeswoman said the normal sequence was followed after launch: The missile launch was detected and assessed as posing no threat to the continental United States. Standard practice is for the FAA to have a constant liaison at Norad’s operations center, therefore it would have been aware of the rapid assessment.
LiveATC air traffic control recordings from the Burbank airport in California detail a controller telling a Southwest flight “there is ground hold for all departures, all airports at this time. The message we receive is until new notice”.
In another recording of the frequency of the control tower in Hillsboro, Oregon, the controller is heard telling the pilot of a Cessna to land, saying “we just received a notice that we need to make a national stop on the ground.”
A spokesperson for San Diego International Airport told CNN that the airport “received instructions from Air Traffic Control that there was a national ground stop, but shortly after [5-7 minutos] our operations team was told to get up. “
Other West Coast airports contacted by CNN said they were unaware of the order.
Confusion about the alert
It is unclear why the ground stop was made because a statement from the US Forces in Korea said the test posed no threat to US or South Korean territory or military personnel, but “The missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of [Corea del Norte] illicit weapons program ”.
North Korea conducted what is believed to be a ballistic missile test around 7:27 a.m. local time on Tuesday (5:27 p.m. Miami time, Monday), the missile was launched from inland and traveled toward the east and fell into the sea.
US Strategic Command and Norad use satellites and radars to track every missile launch around the world and can quickly assess whether a launch poses a threat to the United States.
North Korea is not publicly known to have deployed a reliable long-range missile with a reliable ability to reach the west coast, officials have told CNN in the past, although North Korea has continued to develop its ballistic missile program, including the progress on your long-range launch.