cedarjet
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North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:12 am

Update and discussion of aviation in the Hermit Kingdom.

National carrier Air Koryo has five scheduled flights per week to Beijing, usually op by Tu-204. However demand is so high on some days that there are up to four extra flights added, using virtually the entire fleet which is 2x Tu-204, 2x Tu-154, 2x Il-62; Tu-134 and Il-18 are also operated (1x each). Shenyang is a similar story, where there is one schedule a couple of days per week but there is often an extra flight operated almost wingtip-to-wingtip.

This has given rise to rumours that JS may acquire a second-hand Il-96, which would cost almost nothing and be a good match of capacity to demand.

Also of interest - JS have received an Il-62M from Cubana, now parked at Pyongyang in full Cubana livery but with no titles and a DPRK "P" reg. Air Koryo are vague on the subject but the machine looks like it's being parted-out to support their existing two passenger machines and two VIPers.

The year's program of aviation-themed tours by Juche Travel Services has almost ended, with one more to run in October. Other than a few subs* on the FNJ-SHE run, every trip has delivered everything that was promised - international flights by Il-62, Tu-154 and -204, plus domestic joyrides by Il-18, Il-76, Tu-134 and An-24. Dates for 2013 tours have been confirmed -

11th – 18th May 2013
15th – 22nd June 2013
14th – 21st September 2013
19th – 26th October 2013

Plus a German-language tour -

18th – 25th May 2013

And two more on behalf of Ian Allen tours -

1st – 8th June 2013 (already sold out apparently)
12th – 19th October 2013

For more info, go to www.juchetravelservices.com

Last update - Kim il-Sung's personal Il-14 transport is now open to visitors at Pyongyang airport and is immaculate, surely the best-preserved example of the type in the world.

Anyone got anything to add?

* subs on Air Koryo are always great - even Saha Air have A300s now which isn't nearly as much fun as a 707 - but when JS sub a different type, it's with something that would normally justify a month of planning and a four-figure price tag to fly on. Who can't feel a flutter of excitement when told, due to operational reasons your flight is now bring operated by an Ilyushin 62?
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
TC957
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:13 am

Interesting update, many thanks for posting. Perhaps if JS are having such demand for their two China routes they could look at adding additional points to their network, CAN & PVG would be obvious ones. I wonder if adding a few SSJ's to their fleet has crossed their mind. Did JS start their rumoured KUL service ?
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:40 pm

So apparently the MI-8 choppers have been removed from the Air Koryo fleet now. When we where in Korea in July, a guide mentioned the AN-24 and MI-8 going to a new airline. I forgot the name but it was something along the lines of Koryo Chartered Airline.

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KaiTak747
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:50 pm

Thank you for this very interesting thread.
It's incredible the variety of aircraft JS operate. Doesn't sound like the fleet has changed much in the last 40 years!
Maybe one day I will be able to fly on one of those dinosaurs - sounds like quite an experience! I would imagine that the Il-18 are seriously aged (given that they were built from 1959–1978).

On a separate note - what ever happened to that 1x weekly Pyongyang to Bahrain(?) flight operate by the Tu-204?
 
justinlee
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:50 pm

Quoting TC957 (Reply 1):
Interesting update, many thanks for posting. Perhaps if JS are having such demand for their two China routes they could look at adding additional points to their network, CAN & PVG would be obvious ones. I wonder if adding a few SSJ's to their fleet has crossed their mind. Did JS start their rumoured KUL service ?

There is already a seasonal flight PVG-FNJ of JS using a Tu-204. There are also some charter flights for example DLC-FNJ, YNJ-FNJ, HRB-FNJ by JS. Basically, these connections are between DPRK and Northeast China. There are nearly 2 million Chinese Korean living in Northeast China and many of them have relatives in DPRK. And don't forget the tourists who want to experience the 1960s! I think the demand for JS will grow gradually.
 
aviateur
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:23 am

I love the IL-18.

My fleets book says Air Koryo still has two examples, both with 100 passenger seats. I can't believe they're still flying people in an IL-18. Is this really true?


PS
Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
 
justinlee
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:16 am

Quoting aviateur (Reply 5):

I love the IL-18.

My fleets book says Air Koryo still has two examples, both with 100 passenger seats. I can't believe they're still flying people in an IL-18. Is this really true?


PS

We can still see it sometimes in PEK. It looks like a Combi version and it seems to be in good condition! Just take a look at this:

http://pic.feeyo.com/posts/396/3969138.html

[Edited 2012-09-25 18:18:27]
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:34 am

Quoting aviateur (Reply 5):

I love the IL-18.

My fleets book says Air Koryo still has two examples, both with 100 passenger seats. I can't believe they're still flying people in an IL-18. Is this really true?

It's true, but only one is in commercial passenger service - the other is a cargo aircraft. On the September Juche trip the Il-18 crew gave us an interview, in which they confirmed that they had enough spares/equipment etc... to keep it flying for another 10 years, and that they fully intend to. So in 2022 you may still be able to fly an Il-18 - that's pretty cool!


Dan  
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pvjin
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:56 am

Quoting aviateur (Reply 5):
I love the IL-18.

My fleets book says Air Koryo still has two examples, both with 100 passenger seats. I can't believe they're still flying people in an IL-18. Is this really true?

Actually they aren't the only ones doing that. Jubba Airways in Somalia is flying IL-18 that belongs to Mega Aircompany which is from Kazakhstan. Apparently Daallo airlines is also flying IL-18, at least recently in Finnish aviation forum I saw a trip report where there were multiple IL-18's clearly in pax operation, he actually flew on at least one of them.

If you want to see some pics this is the link: http://www.fsnordic.net/discussion/index.php/topic,104537.0.html

[Edited 2012-09-25 21:58:02]

[Edited 2012-09-25 21:58:46]
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cedarjet
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:09 am

To clarify a couple of things -

the Juche Travel Services tours, run out of an office in London, feature flights by Tu-134 (x2), Il-18 (x2), Il-76 (x1), and An-24. Plus the international sectors, which is an Il-62 for all on the leg from China, and a choice of Tu-204 (back to Beijing) or Tu-154 (to Shenynag). Whole trip inc all meals, all accomodation, all flights, all ground transport, guides, beer and visa, is about EUR 1750. You just have to get yourself to and from China from your home country. Also includes unlimited photo access on the Pyongyang ramp and a tour of Kim il-Sung's personal Il-14.

Air Koryo is a perfect candidate for the Sukhoi SSJ-100 Superjet but it is likely that it contains too many sanctioned parts - avionics etc. The Tu-204 can be exported to DPRK in the variant powered by Perm Motors which is a Russian powerplant; the Rolls-Royce powered variant is not able to be exported to the DPRK. The SSJ-100 could replace the Il-18, Tu-134 at a stroke and I am sure the airline are keenly aware of the potential of the machine but I don't think it will happen due to sanctions. May as well be a 737, it has so much American metal inside it.

The Il-18 in Air Koryo service is immaculate and is all-passenger. Is used for domestic charters to Mt Paektu and international service to Vladivostok. Has turned up in Beijing and elsewhere on rare occasions.

The KUL flights - a proper longhaul service, op by the Tu-204-300, 7h30m - are charters and not bookable. It is rumoured that the service will be bookable next year (2013).

Finally - I think the Il-18 ops in the Horn Of Africa have ended. Daallo have a BAe 146, would be curious to know what Jubba Airways are up to - they usually share aircraft with Daallo - so goes Daallo, so goes Jubba.

Greetings from Sydney airport.
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r2rho
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:35 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 9):
Air Koryo is a perfect candidate for the Sukhoi SSJ-100 Superjet but it is likely that it contains too many sanctioned parts - avionics etc.

Yep - as you say the SSJ has all the western suppliers on board - Thales, Liebherr, Hamilton Sundstrand, Safran, Parker, Honeywell... and therefore a no-go for Air Koryo. The An-148/a58 on the other hand could be a good candidate IMO.
 
NWAROOSTER
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:49 am

Just curious. What does Air Koryo do to prevent some of its flight crews from defecting on foreign flights?   
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MHG
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:05 pm

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 11):
Just curious. What does Air Koryo do to prevent some of its flight crews from defecting on foreign flights?

Very simple:

They make sure everyone of the crew has strong (and I mean really strong) family ties.
E.g. - but not limited to: Being married + having children.
Next to this crewmembers are never allowed to go anywhere alone - separate from the "team" - when in a foreign country.

And every crewmember knows that if they defect despite these limitations their family at home will go a really "rough" road in life for the foreseeable future.
And that´s just a "nice" description - I should say Guantanamo would be heaven for the family in such case) !
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TupolevTu154
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:45 pm

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 11):
Quoting MHG (Reply 12):

On our international flights, there were also one or two "shady" government type characters hanging around to keep a beady eye on the pax, and I assume, the crew.
 
tymnbalewne
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:49 pm

Quoting TupolevTu154 (Reply 13):
On our international flights, there were also one or two "shady" government type characters hanging around to keep a beady eye on the pax, and I assume, the crew.

I thought Charlie looked a little shady too. 
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Braniff747SP
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:16 pm

I've always wanted to take a trip to the North... It sounds fascinating, not even counting the classics that one can catch while over there. Definitely on my bucket list. One of these days...
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cedarjet
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:27 pm

Few more DPRK updates -

Air Koryo sources said the Il-62 would be withdrawn from service at the end of 2012, but as discussed, they recently received another frame from Cubana, which was reregistered P-886P (but still with Cubana cheatline and tail feathers). It now looks like this aircraft is being taken apart - upper wing surface panels have been removed and other things done. Ground crew are usually seen working around the aircraft most days. This suggests Air Koryo have renewed their commitment to the type and this machine is a christmas tree for parts.

The Mil-8s are not going to be back at Pyongyang airport. Although whether this is a deployment to another, less visible part of the country, or a withdrawal from service, is not known.

There is an article (6 pages) in the current edition of Aviation News (from Key Publications, same stable as Airliner World and Airports Of The World) about the May aviation tour by Juche Travel Services. Airbus A400M on the cover. Highly recommended!
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
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TupolevTu154
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RE: North Korean Aviation / Air Koryo Update (Sep 2012

Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:36 pm

Quoting cedarjet (Reply 16):
Highly recommended!

I wonder why