It’s no secret that ‘Air Koryo’, the national airline of North Korea, is one of the dodgiest, strangest and most exotic airlines out there. Their fleet consists of old Soviet-Russian aircraft, that can be quite scary to actually fly (take a look at our review of an Air Koryo flight here).
The airline generally operates a Tupolev-204 on the flights between Beijing and Pyongyang, it’s most prominent international route. There are also regular services to Vladivostok, and historic sectors to Kuala Lumpur and even Hong Kong.
Recently, a flight from Pyongyang to Beijing was forced to make an emergency landing in Shenyang, due to a smoke-filled cabin. No-one was injured in the incident, however it would certainly have been a scary experience, especially for any tourists onboard.
The Chinese authorities were none-too-happy about the incident, and urged the airline to pick up their game and heighten their safety and security standards, with threats of limiting operations.
Surprisingly, the country’s aviation sector is not as third-world as some might expect. They are party to the Chicago Convention (the main multi-lateral agreement that lays down basic ground rules and international law for air safety) and have major “air festivals” that are quite a tourist attraction. The Wonsan Air Festival consists of incredible air displays and leisure flights, and tours are regularly held by Juche Travel.
If you want to know more, take a look at our detailed insights into the country: