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Would you fly the North Korean 'one-star' airline?

While North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has been busy catching up on all four seasons of Game of Thrones we've been given a sneak-peak into Air Koryo - the world's only 'one-star' carrier...

While North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un has been busy catching up on all four seasons of Game of Thrones we’ve been given a sneak-peak into Air Koryo – the world’s only ‘one-star’ carrier…

Kim Jong-un hasn’t been seen in public for over a month. Officials have claimed he is suffering from ‘uncomfortable physical condition’, leaving him with a limp (which might explain his recent obsession with catching up on all seasons of Game of Thrones). While Kim is recovering in front of telly, we decided to take a look into the world’s only ‘one-star’ airline – Air Koryo.


No digital screens in this cockpit!

Flying with a  ‘one-star’, Soviet-era airline might not be on the top of your bucket-list. However according to aviation enthusiast and photographer, Aram Pan it will give you an incredible buzz.

Pan, from Singapore, visited North Korea with a group of aviation enthusiasts in September this year and managed to gain access inside North Korea’s official domestic airline. His photos give us a glimpse of what it’s really like travelling by air in North Korea.

Forget swanky airport lounges, massage chairs and mobile phone check-ins, flying Air Kyota is like stepping back in time, to the 50s to be precise. Your luggage weighed by hand on an old -fashioned scale. Cock pits are sans digital assistance. With this in mind, we don’t blame Pan for telling Daily Mail Australia:

“At first I was a little nervous about flying”

Mr Pan

His fear was well-placed. Air Koryo was banned from flying into the European Union back in 2006 due to safety and maintenance concerns, *gulp*!


Just sit back and relax.

But Mr Pan seemed to have grown some hair on his chest after his first joyride in the (pre)- historic plane and later bravely said ‘it wasn’t scary at all’.

“I was constantly looking forward to the next joyride. Besides… there were 48 other members of the tour group and everyone was like a kid in the candy store. I couldn’t possibly be nervous with everyone so psyched up about every ride,”



Welcome onboard Air Koryo.


Lunch is being prepared in
metal containers and unlabelled water is handed out.


Lunch is served!


No risk for long queues, the airport customs area looks remarkably quiet in North Korea.

If you are tempted to follow in Mr Pan’s footsteps and experience a Soviet-era joyride, check out UK based company Juche Travel, who has been running DPRK aviation tours for the past three years in North Korea.

Would you fly Air Koryo?