A North Korean commercial aircraft touched down in China for the first time in three years, reopening air travel between the two countries.
Marking a thaw in North Korea’s reopening post-pandemic, Air Koryo flight JS151 from Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, arrived at Beijing’s PEK airport on August 22nd, at 9:17 am local time, accoridng to PEK’s website. This is the first internationally recognized commercial flight departing from North Korea since the country sealed its borders in January 2020, after taking the drastic measure of almost completly breaking all contact with the outside world, as part of its efforts to isolate itself and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The resumption of regular flights by North Korean flag carrier Air Koryo between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) gained approval from Chinese authorities, CNN reports. The decision coincided with changes in China’s Covid-19 travel restrictions in January, as stated by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Air Koryo flight was a Tu-204, a passenger aircraft designed in Russia, boasting a capacity of up to 210 passengers.
In another move towards reopening to the world, regular one-hour flights between North Korea and Russia are scheduled to recommence on Friday, August 25, connecting Pyongyang with the southeastern Russian city of Vladivostok. There will be one return flight a day on the last Friday and Monday of August, leaving Vladivostok Internation (VVO) at quarter to nine and getting flyers into Pyongyang (FNJ) at quarter past eleven in the morning. The returns come back just after lunchtime, at quarter past one, and lands in Russia (which is an hour ahead of North Korea) just before 2pm.