aims to expand foreign operations of its national airline Air Koryo(JS)
and add two international airports to its present base in Pyongyang,
International Air Transport Association (IATA), which Air Koryo has just
joined. The airspace opening will make contribution to international civil
aviation as it will facilitate the establishment and operation of new air
routes. Although Air Koryo's scheduled passenger and cargo operations were
currently limited by its handful of foreign destinations, Korean expect
that the volume will be rapidly increased in the near future.
new international airport was already under construction at the
Rajin-Sonbong free economic and trade zone, near the border with China and
Russia; another international airport in the near future with the
conversion of the domestic airport at Hamhung, South Hangyong Province
which serves the port of Hungnam on the Sea of Japan.
Koryo, until recently known as Civic Aviation Association of Korea(CAAK),
was set up in 1954 to succeed a Soviet-North Korean carrier formed in 1950
during the Against US imperialist War. Nowadays, employing some 2, 500 staff, it currently operates a
fleet of 25 Soviet-built Antonov, Ilyushin and Tupolev passenger and cargo
aircraft out of a main base at Pyongyang's Sunnan Airport.
scheduled passenger routes link Pyongyang to Berlin, Moscow, Sofia and
Beijing. It also flies a regular route to Khabarovsk, Russian to serve
Korean contract workers in the logging industry. It
also opened a twice-weekly service to Macau, China.
top of its scheduled runs, the airline operates charter services to Asian,
African and some European countries. Many
foreign airlines had already applied to fly over Korea for saving time and
fuel, IATA says will cut
costs for carriers operating in the region by more than US$125 million a
year. The opening will
provide a more direct route for the growing air traffic between the USA
and China, industry officials say, as well as between Beijing and Tokyo
Air Koryo would welcome help from the international civil aviation
community in providing the facilities that would be needed in the coming
years. The foreign currency-strapped country, suffering from the effects
of devastating floods in the past few years, will have to bear a heavy
burden to obtain the latest navigation, air traffic control and
communication equipment to meet demands which are expected to grow rapidly
in the near future.