Planespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3547 posts, RR: 5 Posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 7602 times:
I was just reading the wikipedia article on Air Koryo, the state-owned airline of North Korea.
It certainly appears to be one of the smallest national-flag airlines, having at most (according to the article) 19 aircraft available for scheduled and charter service. It doesn't appear that they offer any daily flights; most destinations appear to get at most 3x/week. Notable destinations include Beijing (3x/week), Bangkok (1x/week), Vladivostok (1x/week), and Shenyang (2x/week).
The aircraft list list is a venerable "who's who" of antique soviet airliners, including the IL-62 (4), Tu-134 (2), An-24 (5) and Tu-154 (4).
It is not allowed to fly anywhere in the EU, and does not have an "air operators" certificate.
So basically, does anyone have any personal experience with the airline, or any other experience or knowledge about aviation inside the DPRK...I imagine the military controls the airspace much the same way as in China.
PlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11866 posts, RR: 60
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 7489 times:
Quoting Bennett123 (Reply 2): I doubt if many carriers fly to North Korea, and I understand that you can not drive there
Thats correct, there are only two ways in or out for tourists (US Citizens are normally banned and you must be in a tour, no individual travel allowed); the flight from PEK which can be any type of their aircraft, or a 22 hour train ride from Beijing Central Station, a couple of international carridges are linked to the back of a regional train, and these then continue accross the border under North Korean haulage.
I think I'm correct in saying that Air Koryo used to have a flight to Berlin, or somewhere in Germany and they have also served Macau. A couple of times airlines such as Asiana have flown into Pyonyang as special charters to re-unite some families which were seperated after the war.
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
It is possible to book a trip to North Korea from South Korea. These organised tours bring you to the apparently beautifull national parks just across the border by coach, and cater mainly to foreigners (non South Koreans) and international students.
Pulkovokiwi From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7325 times:
I spose its for those folks who have to tell there friends at the Country Club that they have been to every country. How sad ! What possible interest would it have to any non-Korean? You would be followed everywhere,your room would be bugged ,the food would be crap etc.etc.
Manni From South Korea, joined Nov 2001, 4221 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7316 times:
Quoting Ualcsr (Reply 7): I thought it was the other way around. The "tour" to North Korea is run by Hyundai, with special permission of the North Korean government. It's limited to a national park across the 38th parallel and only South Koreans are allowed on the tour. Here's a link from Der Spiegel....
Thanks for the link. It was my impression that these tours mainly cater to foreigners, as I know several foreigners living in SK (I'm a foreigner myself residing in SK) who've taken the tour and when I asked about other participants the general answer was thet they're mainly foreigners aswell. thinking about it, English spoken guided and Korean spoken guided tours might be the explanation.
It is encouraging to see the apparent succes of these tours, as descriped in your link. Hopefully oneday peace will reunite the 2 Koreas and let he North Koreans enjoy the freedom and prosperity as in South Korea.
Ualcsr From United States of America, joined May 2006, 486 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7268 times:
Quoting Manni (Reply 10): It is encouraging to see the apparent succes of these tours, as descriped in your link. Hopefully oneday peace will reunite the 2 Koreas and let he North Koreans enjoy the freedom and prosperity as in South Korea.
Although you're obviously closer than I am to NK, I'm somewhat of a Korea-phile (just interested in the country, not agreeing to the system in any way) and have read some good books on daily life in NK, especially Pyongyang. If you're interested in some titles, send me a pm and I'll forward those names on to you.
Fly2YYZ From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 1056 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7220 times:
Quoting Pulkovokiwi (Reply 9): I spose its for those folks who have to tell there friends at the Country Club that they have been to every country. How sad ! What possible interest would it have to any non-Korean? You would be followed everywhere,your room would be bugged ,the food would be crap etc.etc.
Infact I hear that the food that tourists are served is actually quite good. Fresh produce and meats etc. For foreign tourists its a nostalgia factor to go to the world's most "dangerous" nation. And for South Koreans its a way to see the way our brothers and sisters live in the north, be closer to the loved ones that still are alive without being selected to meet your relatives through red cross organized unifications, and seeing sights that are sacred to Koreans in general, like Diamond Mountin (Geumgang-san) or Paektu Mountain on the northern frontier. So... in reality.. its not SAD!
Don't know why it would have come here, but it did.
I was looking at Pyongyang on Google Maps. You actually can get a pretty good view. But I can't find Pyongyang airport. Even though it is blurry around the outskirts of the city, you should be able to make out an airport.
Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
Cha747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 794 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7065 times:
I looked on Google maps - is the airport north of the city; two runways arranged "on top" of one another when looking at a map. If it is the airport that I am seeing, the southern tip of the "top" or northern runway is connected by a taxiway that runs over a small body of water (river/creek) that meets the northern tip of the "bottom" or southern runway. Perhaps it's something else but it sure does look like an airport with the 2 runways measing several miles long each.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2536 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6365 times:
Quoting Fly2YYZ (Reply 11): And for South Koreans its a way to see the way our brothers and sisters live in the north, be closer to the loved ones that still are alive without being selected to meet your relatives through red cross organized unifications
From what I've read, South Korean tourists in North Korea are kept away from the rest of the population for just that reason. There was a story of a South Korean woman being detained for simply asking her North Korean tour guide if they'd ever thought about coming to South Korea to see what it's like. Sad.
MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14382 posts, RR: 62
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6195 times:
Air Koryo used to fly to SXF (They used to have something like an embassy office in Berlin's Chinese embassy) with IL-18 and IL-62, which were both something like combi freighters (not many passengers flying to NK).
I used to work as a forklift operator in SXF cargo department (before my apprenticeship), where we had to areas in our stores, one for Cuba (Cubana also flew to SXF) and one for North Korea. While the Cuban cargo mostly consisted of industrial machines and spare parts, plus industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the cargo for North Korea consisted mostly of German made expensive brandname household appliances and spare parts for German build luxury cars (especially parts getting damaged in accidents, like bumpers and fenders), plus the occasional Mercedes Benz or BMW. This raised some eyebrows, since officially in NK private ownership of cars is forbidden. I guess in NK, like in the GDR, some people are more equal than others.
Once though, during my apprenticeship with LH in SXF, a Koryo crew "rescued" me. I was sent out in the middle of graveyard shift to check the cargo holds of a LTU B757. It was a quite stormy night, and while I was inside the aft cargo hold a gust of wind blew over my ladder. I was alone outside, on an empty ramp and the 757 cargo hold is a little too high to jump out off.
After about one hour a crew arrived at the Koryo IL-62, which was parked on the next stand. I shouted and waved my arms until some grinning North Koreans came over and put the ladder back into position.
Aviasian From Singapore, joined Jan 2001, 1489 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6171 times:
I had the opportunity to visit North Korea in 2004 and flew Air Koryo from Beijing to Pyongyang and back.
Service onboard Air Koryo was adequate - none of the fancy trimmings. The IL-62 I flew on (P-881) was pristine on the outside and inside. The flights and the landings were extremely smooth.
Regarding the comments posted earlier about being followed, bugged etc . . . I think one should print such comments only if one has visited the country and personally felt that this happened.
I did not think so . . . and we were able to make last minute changes to our programme whenever we saw something we liked - including stopping in places to mingle with the locals.
As was also pointed out, the food was actually quite good.
This is a poor nation . . . and little is wasted. Even as we were there just before the end of autumn, yet another crop of rice was ripening. Amazingly clean country with extensive under-utilised highways . . . very interesting attractions. For me, the communist billboards all over the country were very colourful and very interesting . . . reminds one of Vietnam and China prior to their being more open.
I had the opportunity to chat with other tourists - including Swiss, Germans, Singaporeans and Japanese . . . and they too had flexibility in their day to day programmes, were not confined to their hotels (the Hangagdo Hotel which is located on an island on the river). I am not saying that these things do not happen or that they do . . . when visiting any country, just have an open mind.
You may be positively surprised. It was one of the most memorable destinations I have visited.
Wrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 6146 times:
Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 19): This raised some eyebrows, since officially in NK private ownership of cars is forbidden. I guess in NK, like in the GDR, some people are more equal than others.
Yes, I think the people in power (the guvnors ) are allowed more privileges than others.
The 'dear leader' is thought to be a keen surfer of the internet, and also has a stock of over 20,000 videos, he is a keen follower of basketball.
While out side, 80% of the population starve
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
You mean over the 38th parallel from South Korea? I reckon you CAN. You'll just be blown up so not a single molecule of you nor the car remains. They have heavy guards in that area. But still there are substantial amounts of people that escape from the North and make it to the South or the other way up to China and run into embassies.
Quoting Aviasian (Reply 20): I did not think so . . . and we were able to make last minute changes to our programme whenever we saw something we liked - including stopping in places to mingle with the locals.
I am suprised that you had so much freedom. But hey, it's North Korea. They make a lot of their foreign currency money from tourism now. So they have to be nice or nobody would come back again.
Planenutz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5785 times:
As I understnad it, the flights to Vladivostok are charters for contract North Korean timber workers. The flights to Shenyang are even more ominous as they are beleived to be used to repatriate North Korean citizens who have escaped in the hope of transiting to third countries.
The service to Macau was a result of North Korean financial and trade ties. North Korea uses Macau based banks for its foreign currency transactions, and also uses Macau as a jumping off point for imnportation of luxury goods that can only be purchased with hard currency. In fact, the regular IL-62 flights were mostly cargo, with little or no passengers.
At tits height, Air Koryo operated flights to both SVO and SXF. Suffice to say, the only regularly scheduled flights are to PEK and irregulalry (I think ever other week) to Macau. Reports are that most of the Air Koryo fleet is nonoperational and on the tarmac at Pyongyang.
I visisted the Air Koryo sales ofice in Beijing last May. It was stark and very plain, and a lot of securoty guards. Nothing was on offer, and I have a feeling they work mostly with tour groups originating in Beijing rather than selling tickets to individual passengers. I also tried to visit their office at Beijing Capital Airport, but it was closed. The MIAT employee in the office next door told me that they were only open on days of operation, and even then only for a couple of hours before flight time.