Air Koryo is the flag carrier and only airline of the DPRK and apart from Air China’s tri-weekly air-bridge between Beijing Capital and Pyongyang, the only air connection between North Korea and the rest of the world.
Air Koryo serves four international destinations in two countries and two domestic airports.
It is also possible to charter Air Koryo planes both domestically (6 cities) and internationally. The latter is subject to approval by the civil aviation authorities of second countries.
North Korea’s flag carrier is often referred to as the “only one-star airline”, a myth busted in our blog in which we rated Air Koryo a 3-star airline.
*Air Koryo operates at Capital International Airport Terminal 2 in Beijing and Pudong International Aiport Terminal 1 in Shanghai. In Shenyang and Vladivorosk there is only one terminal.*
Although as of writing this travel guide pleasure flights over Pyongyang are grounded but in general it’s possible to take a pleasure flight over Pyongyang on a Mil Mi-17 helicopter or on a Antonov An-24 turboprop aircraft.
Flight. no. Days Route Dep. Arr. Aircraft Remark(s)
JS151 x2xxx6x FNJPEK 08:35 09:55 T20
JS152 x2xxx6x PEKFNJ 12:55 15:55 T20
JS251 xxx4xxx FNJPEK 10:10 11:30 T20
JS252 xxx4xxx PEKFNJ 14:05 17:05 T20
JS151 1xxx5xx FNJPEK 08:50 10:00 EQV *Apr-Oct* only
JS152 1xxx5xx PEKFNJ 12:00 15:00 EQV *Apr-Oct* only
JS155 xx3xx6x FNJSHE 12:00 12:10 T20
JS156 xx3xx6x SHEFNJ 08:30 11:00 T20
JS157 xxx4xx7 FNJPVG 19:55 21:35 EQV
JS158 xxx4xx7 PVGFNJ 22:35 01:55 EQV
JS271 1xxx5xx FNJVVO 08:30 11:00 T20
JS272 1xxx5xx VVOFNJ 12:20 13:00 T20
JS4101 x2xx5xx FNJRGO 10:00 11:00 IL8 *Oct-Mar*
JS4102 x2xx5xx RGOFNJ 13:30 14:30 IL8 *Oct-Mar*
JS4101 1x3x5xx FNJRGO 10:00 11:00 TU5 *Apr - Oct*
JS4102 1x3x5xx RGOFNJ 13:30 14:30 TU5 *Apr - Oct*
JS3101 x2xx5xx FNJYJS 10:30 12:00 TU3
JS3102 x2xx5xx YJSFNJ 14:00 15:30 TU3
Ticket booking is handled by Koryo Tours and its partner in North Korea, the Korea International Travel Company.
Tourists cannot book their tickets directly with Air Koryo.
However, Air Koryo maintains ticket offices in Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Vladivostok, Moscow, Berlin, and Kuwait.
Economy Class passengers can check-in up to 23kg of luggage.
Business Class passengers can check-in up to 40kg of luggage to Pyongyang and 30kg of luggage from Pyongyang.
The carry-on allowance for Economy Class passengers is 1 piece while for Business Class passengers 2 pieces.
The dimensions for carry-on baggage should not exceed 115 cm in total (56 x 45 x 25 cm).
Carry-on limits are not strictly enforced.
Depending on the travel class, length of the flight, and the time of the day Air Koryo offers cold and hot beverages and a snack or full meal on its international flights.
Vegetarian option is sporadically available.
On international flights, inflight entertainment is provided through overhead TV monitors.
On domestic flights, cold beverages are offered.
Newspapers (Pyongyang Times and Rodong Sinmun) and magazines (DPRK pictorial) are offered on international, domestic, and charter flights.
Air Koryo’s international fleet consists of modern Russian aircraft;
The average age of the international fleet is 12.8 years.
The domestic fleet, both for scheduled and charter services is made of Soviet-era old-timers, a real treat for aviation enthusiast;
*A third aircraft (P-883) is a VIP configuration used by the government.*
The cargo fleet has three Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft;
The first North Korean airline was founded as a joint venture with the Soviet Union after Liberation (1945).
In the late 1950s Chosonminhang – Korean Airways (조선민항) was founded.
Domestic operations were started to Hamhung and Chongjin, followed by the opening of international routes to Moscow (with stopovers along the way) and Beijing, Khabarovsk being added later.
Chosonminhang entered the jet age in 1975 with Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft and that allowed their route network extension to East Europe, including East Berlin, Sofia, and Prague.
In 1982 the first Ilyushin Il-62 was delivered allowing to fly to Moscow without technical landings along the way.
Flights to Japan were also operated sporadically due to the relatively high number of Koreans living in Japan associated with the pro-North Korean organization, Chongryon.
The Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft were delivered in the 1990s.
Chosonminhang was rebranded as Air Koryo (고려한공) in 1992.
In the 2000s Air Koryo was also flying to Bangkok, Kuwait City, and Kuala Lumpur.
In the mid-2010s these flights were ceased as a result of a UN Security Council resolution urging member states to deny permission to North Korean aircrafts for take off, land, and overfly.
During the thaw in the inter-Korean relations in the early 2000s, there were also charter flights operating to South Korea.
The late 2000s and early 2010s saw a modernization of Air Koryo’s international fleet: the first Tupolev-204 was delivered in late 2007 followed by a longer variant of the Tu-204 in 2010, and the two Antonov An-148s in 2013 and 2015.