Air Koryo formerly known as Chosŏn Minhang is the state-owned national flag carrier airline of North Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) , headquartered in Sunan-guyŏk, capital city of Pyongyang and based at Sunan International Airport (IATA: FNJ). It operates internal & international scheduled and charter services to points in Asia and Europe.
Currently Air Koryo has overseas offices in Beijing, Shenyang, Berlin, Moscow, Vladivostok, and Kuwait
Air Koryo was first established under the name SOKAO, which was founded in 1950 as a joint Soviet-North Korean company to connect North Korea with Aeroflot trans-Siberian trunk routes to and from Moscow. Services were suspended during the Korean War, and resumed in 1953. The current airline was established in 1954, started operations on 21 September 1955, and was placed under the control of the Civil Aviation Administration of Korea CAAK and began operations with Lusinov Li-2, Antonov An-2 and Ilyushin Il-12 aircraft. Early services were to Peiping and Chita using the twin engined Li-2 propliner.
During the 1960s Ilyushin Il-14 and Ilyushin Il-18 turboprops were added to the fleet.
Jet operation started in 1975, when the first Tupolev Tu-154B tri-jet 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. Additionally more Tu-154, Tu-134s and An-24s were added to the fleet to expand domestic and international services.
The Tu-154 fleet was increased at the start of the 1980s, and the first 4 engine Ilyushin Il-62 was delivered in 1982 (two of these aircraft were used in VIP configuration), allowing CAAK to offer a direct non-stop service to Moscow for the first time. During this period, Sofia and Belgrade were added to the growing list of international destinations. Air Koryo's Il-62s are also used for on-demand charter flights to Russia (Moscow and Vladivostok) and China (Beijing, Shenyang and Macau), arranged by state tour operator Ryohaengsa Korea International Travel and its foreign partners. Il-18 and Antonov An-24 turboprops are used for domestic on-demand charter services carrying foreign tourists, state officials and the military to remote regions of the country, often to mountain airport of Samjiyon, in the north. The An-24s and Mi-8s provide an air link to Chongjin, from where tourists make their way to Mount Paekdu.
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-76MD cargo aircraft to carry extra cargo to its destinations in China and Russia. Additionally four Mil Mi-8s helicopters where taken up into the fleet. (ps: As off mid summer of 2012 the Mil Mi-8 are not part of the Air Koryo fleet)
The first regular charter flights between North Korea and South Korea began in 2002 and lasted until 2003. The first Air Koryo flight was operated by a Tupolev Tu-154, which touched down at Seoul's Incheon International Airport. Air Koryo operated 40 return services to Seoul, along with flights into Yangyang, Busan.
Air Koryo recently purchased the new Tupolev Tu-204s aircraft to replace its aging international fleet and are mainly used on its prime route to Beijing. In September 2009, Air Koryo opted to order a further example of the Tu-204-300 aircraft and in addition to a single Tupolev Tu-204-100B version. 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.
On March 30, 2010, Air Koryo had its two Tu-204 aircraft lifted from the European blacklist, allowing the airline to recommence flights to the EU. But nonetheless, Air Koryo overall is still banned from flying in Europe.
Air Koryo is searching for new aircraft to replace its current 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, more Tupolev Tu-204 and the smaller twin engined Sukhoi Superjet 100s to replace their Tupolev Tu-154 and Tu-134 aircraft.
In a recent Airliner World magazine, it was reported that Air Koryo was trying to gain EU certification to fly into EU airspace. This would give Air Koryo the opportunity to resume scheduled flights to Berlin in the future. In April 2011, Air Koryo launched its first services to Malaysia with the inauguration of flights from Pyongyang to Kuala Lumpur. The flights operated twice a week with Tu-204 aircraft. Air Koryo has also inaugurated links to Kuwait city which was operated on a weekly basis.
In October 2012 the airline launched its first online booking service. The website www.airkoryo.com.kp/en promises "easier, quicker, reliable booking and ticketing services.
Air Koryo is on the List of airlines banned within the EU. Additionally, the list includes 11 air carriers which are subject to operational restrictions and allowed to operate into the EU under strict conditions: Air Astana from Kazakhstan as mentioned before, Air Koryo from the Democratic People Republic of Korea, Airlift International from Ghana, Air Service Comores, Afrijet, Gabon Airlines and SN2AG from Gabon, Iran Air, TAAG Angolan Airlines, Air Madagascar and Jordan Aviation. http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-342_en.htm
Accidents and incidents
Date: 01 JUL 1983 – Aircraft: Ilyushin 62M – Location: near Conakry airport Guinea
The Il-62M, with registration P889, en-route from Pyongyang-Sunan Airport (FNJ) (FNJ/ZKPY), North Korea to Conakry Airport (CKY) (CKY/DGCY), crashed in the Fouta Djall Mountains with the loss of 23 crew and passengers
Date: 15 AUG 2006 – Aircraft: Tupolev 154B-2 – Location: Pyongyang (FNJ)
On 15 August the Tu-154 (P-551), operating Air Koryo flight 152 from Beijing landed at Kim Il-sung airport in the North Korean capital Pyongyang at around 14:00. North Korean aviation sources say the aircraft landed in dense smog and rain and overflew the normal touchdown point. The crew then attempted a high-rate flare, resulting in a rough wheel contact. The Tu-154 overran the runway and safety zone before coming to a halt in bushes, well within the vast airport perimeter.
Initial reports said that Tu-154B P-551 was involved in the mishap, based on a photograph of the plane in a field at Pyongyang. This however seems unlikely as the plane was already parked at that spot before the date of the mishap. It seems that P-561, a regular visitor on the Beijing flights, could have been the mishap plane
|AIR KORYO FLEET LIST|
|Ilyushin IL-18D||P-835||188011205||pax configuration|
|Ilyushin IL-62M||P-881||3647853||pax configuration|
|Ilyushin IL-62M||P-886||3749648||ex Cubana stored|
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – World Airline Fleets 1978 – ASN-Aviation
Safety.net – Flight International - http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/air/safety/air-ban/index_en.htm