Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday that it was rerouting some transpolar flights between Asia and the U.S. to avoid the impact of the largest solar storm in almost a decade.
The Atlanta-based carrier said some flights to Detroit from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul took a more southerly routing on overnight flights, though a spokesman said planes flew faster to keep schedules intact. Tuesday departures from the U.S. were expected to follow similar routes.
Airlines occasionally reroute transpolar flights as a precautionary measure during big solar storms, with radiation levels heightened near the poles because of the relatively thin ozone layer. The region is also more prone to the disturbance of navigation and communication systems because of the convergence of magnetic field lines at the poles.
A huge solar storm on the sun Monday spewed out a stream of charged particles that hit the Earth earlier Tuesday. The Space Weather Prediction Center of the U.S. National Weather Service said it was the largest solar storm since October 2003. ............(more)