North Korea resumes commercial international flight after 3 years

north korea air koryo flights international border
north korea air koryo flights international border

North Korea has finally opened its borders three years after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The country’s carrier, Air Koryo, landed its first international commercial flight in Beijing, China on 22 August 2023.

Air Koryo flight JS151 flew from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and reached Beijing’s PEK Airport at 9:17 am (local time). Earlier, the plane was supposed to ply on August 21 (Monday), but two hours after its scheduled landing time, it was announced that the flight was cancelled.

North Korea reopens international borders

North Korea Air Koryo
Image credit: Starz12/Shutterstock

According to a report in Reuters, it wasn’t clear who was on the Beijing flight, but Western tour companies operating in China said that it was a special flight carrying back North Koreans stuck in China due to border closures.

According to another report by Reuters, China’s civil aviation authority told the media house that Air Koryo will fly between Pyongyang and Beijing thrice a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from March 26 to October 28. Also, Air China, which used to fly on this route, hasn’t yet applied to resume operations, as informed by the authorities.

Air Koryo is also expected to fly to Russia’s Vladivostok on Friday, August 25, furthering its border relaxation measures.

In 2020, North Korea cancelled all flights, shut all its borders, and cut off almost all contact with the outside world in the wake of the pandemic. This was done to control the rise of COVID-19 cases in the nation, according to Reuters. Over the last year, the country slowly resumed cargo train and ship traffic. Last month, North Korea even received government delegations from Russia and China, and a bus carrying the country’s athletes to Kazakhstan for a Taekwondo tournament crossed the China border.

Hero and featured image credit: Friemann/Shutterstock

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