North Korea's Air Koryo Planning New Charter Flights to China

By Mei Manuel, May 14, 2018 03:05 AM

Air Koryo(Youtube/Screenshot)

Two airline officials shared on Thursday that North Korea's national airline Air Koryo is planning to launch charter flights between Pyongyang and Southwest China's Chengdu, a move which shows a great improvement between the diplomatic relations of both countries.

In their statement with Reuters, the two officials shared that the flights to Chengdu, one of China's largest cities in the West, can begin as early as late June if the Chinese aviation regulator approves of the request.

According to one of the officials interviewed by Reuters, the application has yet to be submitted and said "At the moment, this is still a plan. Whether it can actually take off will be impacted by the policy environment going forward."

He also added that Chinese travel agencies were involved with the marketing of the flights to potential customers and said "Now perhaps it's Chengdu, afterwards could be Dalian, Guangzhou. If there's a market we'll fly, if not we won't."

China and North Korea are close allies, but their ties have grown sour due to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and China's backing of UN's sanctions on the hermit kingdom.

However, the relations of both countries have improved lately with Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meeting twice in China since March as North Korea prepares to meet with US President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Air Koryo already has regular flights from Beijing, Shenyang and Shanghai to Pyongyang. With the new flights, it is expected that it will bring new revenue for North Korea.

Air China used to have flights between the two countries, but had temporarily suspended flights in November due to the lack of demand.

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