World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Air Koryo

Air Koryo
Koryo Hanggong
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1950 (as Sokao)
1954 (as Chosonminhang Korean Airways 조선민항)
Hubs Pyongyang Sunan International Airport
Fleet size 19
Destinations 23 (4 seasonal & 1 charter)
Headquarters Pyongyang, North Korea
Key people
  • Kang Ki Sop (Director General of the General Civil Aviation Administration of the DPRK)
  • An Pyong Chil (director of the General Bureau of Civil Aviation)[1]
Air Koryo
Chosŏn'gŭl 고려항공
Hancha 高麗航空
Revised Romanization Goryeo Hanggong
McCune–Reischauer Koryŏ Hanggong

Air Koryo (Korean: 고려항공, Koryŏ Hanggong; formerly Chosŏn Minhang, Korean: 조선민항) is the state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea, headquartered in Sunan-guyŏk, Pyongyang.[2] Based at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport (IATA: FNJ),[3] it operates international scheduled and charter services to points in Asia and Europe.

Air Koryo has offices in Beijing and Shenyang in China; Vladivostok in Russia; Bangkok in Thailand and Berlin in Germany. There are sales agencies in Tokyo in Japan; Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Singapore; Taipei in Taiwan; Hong Kong; Kuwait; Italy; Austria and Germany.[4]


  • History 1
    • Founding 1.1
    • Jet operations 1.2
    • Expansion 1.3
    • New service 1.4
  • Destinations 2
  • Fleet 3
    • Modernization 3.1
    • Tupolev Tu-204 3.2
  • Accidents and incidents 4
  • European Union ban 5
  • Airline rating 6
  • Gallery 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10



Air Koryo was established first under the name SOKAO (Soviet–North Korean Airline), which was founded in 1950 as a joint North Korean-Soviet concern to connect Pyongyang with Moscow.[5] Services were suspended during the Korean War, to resume in 1953. The current airline was established in 1953 as UKAMPS[5] (renamed Civil Aviation Administration of Korea (CAAK) in the 1970s), started operations on 21 September 1955, and was placed under the control of the Civil Aviation Administration of Korea.[3] CAAK began operations with Lisunov Li-2, Antonov An-2 and Ilyushin Il-12 aircraft. Ilyushin Il-14 and Ilyushin Il-18 turboprops were added to the fleet in the 1960s.

Jet operations

Jet operation commenced in 1975, when the first Tupolev Tu-154 was delivered for services from Pyongyang to Prague, East Berlin and Moscow. However, because the Tu-154 did not have the sufficient range, the plane had to land not only at Irkutsk, but also at Novosibirsk. Along with the Tu-154, Tu-134s and An-24s were delivered to start domestic services.

The Tu-154 fleet was increased at the start of the 1980s, and the first Ilyushin Il-62 was delivered in 1982 (two of these aircraft are used in VIP configuration),[6] allowing CAAK to offer a direct non-stop service to Moscow for the first time. During this period, Sofia and Belgrade were also destinations. However, under current European Aviation Regulations, because of maintenance concerns and noise emissions, Air Koryo is forbidden from landing at any European airport with this type of aircraft under Convention rules specified in the article.


The end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism in East Europe saw a vast reduction in the number of international services offered. CAAK became Air Koryo in March 1992. In 1993, Air Koryo ordered 3 Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft to carry extra cargo to its destinations in China and Russia. Air Koryo purchased a Tupolev Tu-204-300 aircraft in December 2007 and another Tu-204 in March 2010[7] to replace the aging international fleet.[8] Air Koryo also started modernizing its fleet interiors. With the new Tu-204, Air Koryo would be able to fly to Europe.

Air Koryo Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft at Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, in 1994

In September 2009, Air Koryo ordered a further example of the Tu-204-300 aircraft and in addition a single Tupolev Tu-204-100. Air Koryo was also in talks over possible orders for Sukhoi Superjet 100 to replace the aging Tu-134 and 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 Pyongyang and direct services from Pyongyang to Shanghai Pudong were inaugurated with a two weekly service via JS522 and returning on JS523[9][10] opened in 2010.[11]

New service

In 2011, 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.[12]
In 2012, Air Koryo resumed services to Kuala Lumpur along with its expansion into Harbin, China.[13][14] In 2012, Juche Travel Services a company operating tours to the DPRK, launched "aviation enthusiast" tours using chartered Air Koryo flights, which offered visitors the chance to fly on every variety of Air Koryo aircraft within North Korea, the Il-76, Mil-17, An-24, Tu-134 and Tu-154. The international services were operated by inbound and outbound Tu-204 or Il-62.


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 and Busan in South Korea.[15] Inter-Korean charters from Hamhung Airport to Yangyang International in South Korea began in 2002.[16] Currently, there are no inter-Korean flights, according to laws in both countries. In 2014 Air Koryo operated a series of services to Seoul Incheon International Airport with Tu-204 and An-148 aircraft for the Asian Games; the North Korean Government Ilyushin Il-62M also appeared at INC during the same period carrying officials.


Air Koryo IL-62M (P-881) at Beijing Capital Airport in 2003.

Air Koryo operates the following fleet as of January 2015:[17]


Air Koryo Tu-204 at FNJ
Air Koryo Tu-204 cabin with LCD screens
Air Koryo Tu-204 and new low floor bus at FNJ

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 US and the EU. Air Koryo is considering the Ilyushin Il-96 and Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft. The Tupolev Tu-204s are capable of flying to Moscow non-stop.[23] Air Koryo have also installed LCD screens in their Tu-204s which now show safety demonstrations and films. Moreover, Air Koryo has purchased new airport low-floor buses.

Rights to enter the EU airspace using certain aircraft were granted by the EU authorities in April 2010, after a 7-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.[24] Along with the new services to Kuala Lumpur, Air Koryo has also inaugurated links to Kuwait City operated weekly.[12]

In October 2012, the airline launched its first online booking service.[25] On the first quarter of 2013, Air Koryo had received their first Antonov An-148 aircraft, and their second on the final quarter of 2013.[26]

Tupolev Tu-204

The first Tupolev Tu-204-300 for Air Koryo was officially handed over to the carrier on 27 December 2007, and was ferried from Ulyanovsk to Pyongyang. It has been fitted out with 16 business class seats and the remaining 150 seats are economy. This is the first Tupolev Tu-204-300 to be exported out of Russia.

The 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 the Tu-204 jet, being the Tu-204-100B, which is a longer version of their Tu-204-300. On 4 March 2010, Air Koryo took delivery of its second Tu-204, a −100B version.[27] It started operating scheduled services the following day.[28]

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.[29]

Accidents and incidents

Air Koryo Il-76, Tu-204, Il-62, Tu-154 and Tu-134 at FNJ
  • 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 to service.[30]

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 French Civil 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,[33] the Commission assessed that Air Koryo did not meet the relevant safety standards.[34]

In March 2010, Air Koryo was allowed to resume operations into the EU with their 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 in EU airports or overflying EU airspace.[29][35][36]

Airline rating

Air Koryo was the only one-star airline among 681 airlines rated and reviewed by the Skytrax service in 2014.[37] Air Koryo had held this rating for four years in a row.[38]


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Contact." Air Koryo. Retrieved on 6 August 2009. "Democratic People's Republic of Korea P'yongyang – Head office Air Koryo Sunan District P'yongyang"
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Kim Jong-Un's 'Air Force One' Revealed, 12 May 2014, The Chonsunilbo
  7. ^ Air Koryo Asian Info, Retrieved 25 January 2015
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Aviation News September 2006 Archived 1 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ [2]
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Fly Well portal (Which contains links to the common air transport policy)(English), European Commission, 22 March 2006
  34. ^ Commission Regulation (EC) No 474/2006 of 22 March 2006 (PDF-file)(English), European Commission, 22 March 2006
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ (22 January 2015) And the very worst airline in the world is... Traveller24, Retrieved 25 January 2015

External links

  • Official website
  • 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
  • Air Koryo photo gallery at
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.