SEOUL — The Soviet Union on Sunday allowed a South Korean jetliner to fly over its territory after a volcanic eruption in Alaska prevented the plane from taking the North Pole route to Paris, officials said.
It was the first time a regular Korean Air flight was allowed to pass through Soviet airspace en route to Europe.
The KAL Boeing 747 carrying 290 passengers and crew arrived in the French capital shortly before noon after a 13-hour flight. At the request of Korean Air, Moscow allowed the plane's flight over its territory after an eruption of Alaska's Redoubt volcano prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to prohibit air traffic near the volcano.
KAL officials said the Soviet permission for the flight was temporary but said they will be allowed to use the Soviet route regularly after the conclusion of an aviation agreement with Moscow early this year.
In 1983, a KAL Boeing 747 from New York to Seoul by way of Anchorage was downed by Soviet military jets after straying into Soviet territory near the island of Sakhalin. All 269 people on board were killed.