[photopress:koryo.jpg,full,alignright]Air China is flying direct, regularly scheduled flights from Beijing to Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK) and as such, will be the only foreign airline to land at the city’s Sunan International Airport. Previously, the only way to travel to Pyongyang was to take a flight operated by DPRK’s state-owned carrier, Air Koryo.
Since the beginning of this month Air China has had three round-trip flights each week between Beijing and Pyongyang.
Flight CA121 will leave Beijing every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon and return from Pyongyang as CA122 later the same day.
Although it is still fairly difficult for tourists to be granted visas in order to visit the DPRK, Air China is banking on an increase in the number of Chinese businesspeople who may fly to Pyongyang on official trips, as well as some leisure travelers.
Air China, however, is not the first foreign carrier to operate regular flights to the DPRK. China
In addition to Air China, Air Koryo, seen in our illustration, will continue to offer regular flights from Beijing to Pyongyang. The carrier operates a fleet of 21 Soviet-built planes, including the Tupolev Tu-134 and Tu-154, as well as the Ilyushin 62 and the Antonov An-24.
Accurate information on Air Koryo’s domestic network of destinations in difficult to come by, but the carrier does operate at least one regularly scheduled internal route.