Air Koryo (Chosŏn'gŭl: 고려항공; MR: Koryŏ Hanggong;
formerly 조선민항; 朝鮮民航; Chosŏn Minhang) is the
state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea,
headquartered in Sunan-guyŏk, Pyongyang. Based at
International Airport (IATA: FNJ), it operates international
scheduled and charter services to points in Asia.
Air Koryo has offices in Beijing,
Shanghai and Shenyang, China; Moscow
and Vladivostok, Russia; and Berlin, Germany.
1.2 Jet operations
1.4 New service
3.2 Tupolev Tu-204
4 Accidents and incidents
5 European Union ban
7 See also
9 External links
In early 1950, SOKAO (Soviet–North Korean Airline,
소련-조선항공, 蘇聯-朝鮮航空) was established as a joint
North Korean-Soviet venture to connect
Pyongyang with Moscow.
Regular flights began that same year. Services were suspended
during the Korean War, resuming in 1953 as UKAMPS. The state airline
was then placed under the control of the Civil
of Korea (CAAK), starting operations on 21 September 1955 with Lisunov
Antonov An-2 and
Ilyushin Il-12 aircraft. Ilyushin Il-14s and
Ilyushin Il-18s were added to the fleet in the 1960s.
Jet operations commenced in 1975, when the first
Tupolev Tu-154 was
delivered for services from
Pyongyang to Prague, East
Moscow. However, because the
Tu-154 did not have sufficient range, the
aircraft had to refuel at Irkutsk and Novosibirsk. Tu-134s and An-24s
were also delivered to start domestic services.
Tu-154 fleet was increased at the start of the 1980s, and the
Ilyushin Il-62 was delivered in 1982 (two of these aircraft are
used in VIP configuration), allowing CAAK to offer a direct non-stop
Moscow for the first time, as well as serving
Tu-204 is the only aircraft the airline is allowed to operate on
services to the European Union.
The end of the
Cold War and the collapse of communism in Eastern
Europe saw a vast reduction in the number of international services
offered. CAAK was re-branded as
Air Koryo in March 1992 and in 1993,
Ilyushin Il-76 freight aircraft to carry cargo to and
from its destinations in
China and Russia.
Air Koryo purchased a Tupolev Tu-204-300 aircraft in December 2007 and
another in March 2010 to replace the aging international fleet. With
Air Koryo would be able to fly to Europe.
Air Koryo Il-62, Il-76, Tu-134,
Tu-204 at Sunan
In September 2009,
Air Koryo ordered a further example of the Tupolev
Tu-204-300 aircraft and a single Tupolev Tu-204-100.
Air Koryo was
also in talks over possible orders for
Superjet 100 aircraft to
replace the ageing
An-24 aircraft.
Air Koryo was to receive its first of two Tupolev Tu-204-100B aircraft
fitted with 210 seats. Flights to Dalian, China, were added to the Air
Koryo schedule. Also, twice weekly
Tu-134 flights from
direct services from
Shanghai Pudong were inaugurated
with a two weekly service on JS522 and returning on JS523 in
Air Koryo inaugurated services to
Kuala Lumpur and Kuwait
City, both being operated weekly by
Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft. The
services operate during peak travel season- April to October.
Air Koryo resumed flights to Kuala Lumpur, but ceased the
service in 2014 along with its expansion into Harbin, China.
In 2012, Juche Travel Services, a company operating tours to the North
Korea, launched "aviation enthusiast" tours using chartered Air Koryo
aircraft, which offered visitors the chance to fly on every variety of
Air Koryo aircraft within North Korea, the Mil-17, An-24, Tu-134,
Tu-154 and Il-62. The international services were operated by inbound
and outbound An-148,
Tu-154 or Tu-204.
In 2017, during the rule of
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, there were
Air Koryo was branching out into commercial sectors beyond
aviation, providing goods and services as diverse as petrol stations,
taxis, tobacco, soft drinks, and tinned pheasant meat.
Air Koryo destinations
The first regular charter flights between
North Korea and South Korea
began in 2003. The first
Air Koryo flight operated by a Tupolev Tu-154
touched down at Seoul's Incheon International Airport. Air Koryo
operated 40 return services to Seoul, along with flights into Yangyang
Busan in South Korea. Inter-Korean charters from Hamhung's
Sondok Airport to
Yangyang International in
South Korea began in
2002. Currently, there are no inter-Korean flights, due to laws in
both countries. In 2014,
Air Koryo operated a series of services to
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport with
for the Asian Games; the North Korean Government
Ilyushin Il-62M also
appeared at ICN during the same period carrying officials.[citation
Air Koryo operated an airline interline partnership with Aeroflot
(SkyTeam) on services radiating from
2017 after it was forced to close the agreement due to newly imposed
Pyongyang Sunan International Airport.
Air Koryo operates the following fleet as of
Air Koryo Fleet
In New Livery.
In New Livery.
In New Livery.
P-885 in New Livery.
In DPRK Livery.
P-813 in New Livery.
In New Livery.
Air Koryo Cargo Fleet
Ilyushin Il-76TD 
P-913 in New Livery.
Tu-204 and new Low-Floor Bus at
Air Koryo is searching for new aircraft to add to its fleet. The new
planes would be Russian-made, given the existence of sanctions from
the United States (where
Boeing is located), the European Union (EU)
Airbus is located) and Canada (where
Bombardier Inc. is
Air Koryo is considering the
Ilyushin Il-96 and Sukhoi
Superjet 100 aircraft. The Tupolev Tu-204s are capable of flying to
Air Koryo have also installed LCD screens in
their Tu-204s which now show safety demonstrations and films.
Air Koryo has purchased new airport low-floor
Rights to enter the EU airspace using certain aircraft were granted by
the EU authorities in April 2010, after a seven-year period of being
banned from EU airspace. In April 2011,
Air Koryo launched its first
services to Malaysia with the inauguration of flights from Pyongyang
to Kuala Lumpur. The flights operate twice a week with Tu-204
aircraft. Along with the new services to Kuala Lumpur, Air Koryo
has also inaugurated links to
Kuwait City operated weekly.
In October 2012, the airline launched its first online booking
service. In the first quarter of 2013,
Air Koryo had received
their first Antonov
An-148 aircraft, and their second in the final
quarter of 2013.
Air Koryo launched a new styled livery for its aircraft which
are adorned on all types besides the
Tu-204 aircraft. The new livery
features a tail flag logo that appears to be flapping in the wind,
lower cheatline and over all whiter euro-white style fuselage. This
coincided with the Wonsan international air show that was held at the
newly opened Wonsan Kalma Airport.
The first Tupolev Tu-204-300 for
Air Koryo was officially handed over
to the carrier on 27 December 2007, and was ferried from
Pyongyang. It has been fitted out with 16 business class seats and the
remaining 150 seats are economy. This was the first Tupolev Tu-204-300
to be exported from Russia.
Tu-204 aircraft are currently scheduled on all international
flights out of Pyongyang. With the arrival of the new aircraft, a new
seasonal route to Singapore was introduced and the resumption of the
Pyongyang-Bangkok route commenced in 2008. Its first revenue-earning
flight was made on 8 May 2008.
Air Koryo operates another version of
Tu-204 jet, a Tu-204-100B, which they took delivery of on 4 March
2010. The Tu-204-100B is a longer version of the Tu-204-300. It
started operating scheduled services on 5 March 2010.
On 30 March 2010, the two
Tupolev Tu-204 have been given the rights to
operate into the European Union. The planned services to Germany could
be resumed again with any of the two aircraft.
Accidents and incidents
On 30 June 1979, a Chosonminhang (predecessor to Air Koryo) Tupolev
Tu-154B sustained landing gear and wing damage at Budapest Ferihegy
Airport in Hungary. On final approach to Runway 31, the pilot realized
the plane would undershoot and brought the nose of the plane up
without applying power. The aircraft stalled, and with a hard landing,
the right landing gear collapsed, causing the right wing to strike the
ground and sustain substantial wing structure damage. There were no
fatalities, and aircraft P-551 was subsequently repaired and returned
On 1 July 1983, a Chosonminhang
Ilyushin Il-62M on a non-scheduled
international passenger flight from Pyongyang,
North Korea (Pyongyang
Sunan International Airport) to Conakry,
Airport) crashed in the
Fouta Djallon Mountains in Guinea. All 23
people on board were killed, and the aircraft was written off.
On 22 July 2016, an
Air Koryo Tupolev Tu-204-300 on a flight from
Beijing to Pyongyang, flight number JS151, made an emergency landing
Shenyang Airport due to reports of smoke in the cabin.
Oxygen masks were deployed due to an oxygen shortage.
On 25 May 2017, an
Air Koryo Tupolev Tu-204-300 (Registered P-632) on
a flight from
Pyongyang to Beijing, flight number JS251, had just
reached cruising level 9200 meters when the aircraft began to
increasingly vibrate, forcing the plane to return to Pyongyang.
Passengers reported parts falling off a wing. Several sources assume
the aircraft lost one of the flaps.
European Union ban
Due to safety and maintenance concerns,
Air Koryo was added to the
list of air carriers banned in the European Union in March 2006. The
European Commission found evidence of serious safety deficiencies on
the part of
Air Koryo during ramp inspections in France and Germany.
Air Koryo persistently failed to address these issues during other
subsequent ramp inspections performed by the EU under the SAFA
programme, pointing to blatant systemic safety deficiencies at Air
Koryo operations. The airline failed to reply to an inquiry by the
Aviation Authority regarding its safety operations,
pointing to a lack of transparency or communication on the part of Air
Koryo. The plan by
Air Koryo for corrective action, presented in
response to France's request, was found to be inadequate and
insufficient. The EC also held that North Korean authorities did not
adequately oversee the flag carrier, which it was obliged to do under
the Chicago Convention. Therefore, on the basis of the common
criteria, the Commission assessed that
Air Koryo did not meet the
relevant safety standards.
In March 2010,
Air Koryo was allowed to resume operations into the EU
Tu-204 planes which were fitted with the necessary
equipment to comply with mandatory international standards. All other
Air Koryo aircraft remain banned from landing at EU airports or
overflying EU airspace.
Air Koryo was the only one-star airline among 681 airlines rated and
Skytrax in 2014.
Air Koryo had held this rating for
four years in a row.
North Korea portal
Korean People's Army Air Force
List of air carriers banned in the European Union
Pyongyang Airport provides flight service worldwide".
Korea-dpr.com. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ "Contact." Air Koryo. Retrieved on 6 August 2009. "Democratic
People's Republic of Korea P'yongyang – Head office
Air Koryo Sunan
^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 27 March
2007. p. 59.
^ "Airkoryo Offices". www.airkoryo.com.kp. Retrieved 12 February
^ Davies, R. E. G. (1997). Airlines of Asia: Since 1920. London:
Putnam. p. 534. ISBN 978-0-85177-855-6.
^ a b "World Airlines Survey". Flight International: 512. 13 April
1961. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
^ MacDonald, Hugh (1975). Aėroflot: Soviet air transport since 1923.
London: Putnam. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-370-00117-3.
^ "WORLD AIRLINES SURVEY". Flight International. IPC Transport Press
Limited: 567. 10 April 1969. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
^ "List of airlines subject to an operating ban or operational
restrictions within the European Union" (PDF).
European Commission for
Transport. European Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5
December 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
Air Koryo Asian Info, Retrieved 25 January 2015
^ "North Korea's quirky (and unsafe)
Air Koryo survives and,
increasingly, appears to thrive". International Herald Tribune. 29
March 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ "North Korean Economy Watch » Blog Archive » Air Koryo
Pyongyang flights". Nkeconwatch.com. 28 July 2010.
Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ "2010年*上海=平壤8月散客*出团计划 行行摄摄
旅游摄影 出行旅游论坛". www.dayout.com.cn. Archived from the
original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ "Photo ť P-814 (CN: 66368)
Tupolev Tu-134 by LGY".
Jetphotos.net. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ a b "Al - Malek International Group". Almalekint.com. Retrieved 25
^ JL (23 February 2012). "
Air Koryo to Start
Pyongyang – Harbin
Charter service from late-Apr 2012
Airline Route – Worldwide
Airline Route Updates". Airlineroute.net. Retrieved 15 August
^ JL (19 March 2012). "
Air Koryo S12 Operation Changes to Kuala Lumpur
Airline Route – Worldwide
Airline Route Updates".
Airlineroute.net. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
^ O'Carroll, Chad (6 June 2017). "N. Korean airline introduces tinned
pheasant line, opens
Pyongyang shop". NK News.
^ Harris, Bryan (2017). "
North Korea begins journey from feudalism to
crony capitalism". Financial Times. Retrieved June 22, 2017. Air
Koryo, the national airline, which also runs one of Pyongyang’s
handful of taxi companies and recently began selling tinned pheasant,
also fits the bill.
^ "air koryo 2003 2045 Flight Archive". Flightglobal.com.
Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ "N. Korean plane to test-fly direct air route with South". Asia
Africa Intelligence Wire. 20 July 2002.
^ "Booking search - Aeroflot". m.aeroflot.ru. Retrieved 12 February
^ "Sanctions force
Aeroflot to axe
Air Koryo interline deal".
Retrieved 12 February 2018.
^ "✈ наша авиация". Russianplanes.net. Retrieved
^ "Facebook". Retrieved 24 April 2015.
Aviation News". Aircrafspotting.net. September 2006. Archived from
the original on 1 November 2007.
^  Archived 26 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "'World's worst airline' launches online booking". Telegraph. 31 May
2011. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
^ "✈ наша авиация". Russianplanes.net. Retrieved 15
^ "Самолёт Ту-204-100В передан
авиакомпании "Air Koryo" – Аргументы и
Факты". Ul.aif.ru. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ [dead link]
^ a b "EU Bans All Airlines From Philippines, Sudan in New Blacklist".
BusinessWeek. 30 March 2010. Archived from the original on 29
September 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
Aviation Safety Database report P-551". Aviation-safety.net. 30
June 1979. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
Aviation Safety Database report P-889". Aviation-safety.net. 1 July
1983. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
^ "Around the World: 23 Killed in
Guinea Crash Of a North Korean
Plane". The New York Times. UPI. 6 July 1983. ISSN 0362-4331.
Archived from the original on 6 January 2016.
Korean Air Koryo plane makes emergency landing in China".
Reuters. 22 July 2016.
^ Fly Well portal (Which contains links to the common air transport
policy)(in English), European Commission, 22 March 2006
^ Commission Regulation (EC) No 474/2006 of 22 March 2006
(PDF-file)(in English), European Commission, 22 March 2006
^ "Commission updates the list of airlines banned from the European
airspace". Europa Press Release Database. 30 March 2010.
^ "EU Upholds Flight Ban". Radio Free Asia. 13 January 2010.
Airline Rating". Skytrax. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
^ (22 January 2015) And the very worst airline in the world is...
Traveller24, Retrieved 25 January 2015
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air Koryo.
Tupolev TU204 North Korean Landing & Takeoff at
Air Koryo - Presented by Koryo Tours
Swiss Website of
Air Koryo at the Korean Friendship Association
website Switzerland Delegation
Air Koryo at the
Aviation Safety Network Database
CAAK (predecessor) at the
Aviation Safety Network Database
Air Koryo Timetable 31/10/1999 to 26/3/2000 at angelfire.com
Air Koryo photo gallery at www.airliners.net
Air Koryo photobook at lonely planet
Members of the International Air Transport Association
Africa regional office
Africa World Airlines
LAM Mozambique Airlines
South African Airways
South African Express
TAAG Angola Airlines
Asia-Pacific regional office
Air New Zealand
Air Tahiti Nui
All Nippon Airways
Biman Bangladesh Airlines
Myanmar Airways International
Nippon Cargo Airlines
Pakistan International Airlines
Royal Brunei Airlines
Singapore Airlines Cargo
Thai Lion Air
China and North
Asia regional office
Beijing Capital Airlines
China Cargo Airlines
China Eastern Airlines
China Express Airlines
China Postal Airlines
China Southern Airlines
Hong Kong Airlines
Hong Kong Express
MIAT Mongolian Airlines
Europe regional office
Blue Panorama Airlines
Braathens Regional Aviation
CAL Cargo Air Lines
DHL Air UK
European Air Transport Leipzig
LOT Polish Airlines
SATA Air Açores
Swiss International Air Lines
TAP Air Portugal
Latin America and the Caribbean regional office
ABSA Cargo Airline
Austral Líneas Aéreas
Avianca Costa Rica
Avianca El Salvador
Azul Brazilian Airlines
Boliviana de Aviación
Copa Airlines Colombia
Cubana de Aviación
Gol Transportes Aéreos
LATAM Cargo Brasil
LATAM Cargo Chile
LATAM Cargo Mexico
Middle East and North Africa regional office
AlMasria Universal Airlines
Iran Air Tours
Iran Aseman Airlines
Mauritania Airlines International
Middle East Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
North America regional office
Delta Air Lines
Russia and the CIS regional office
Ukraine International Airlines