Reconnecting Skies: North Korean Commercial Plane Touches Down in China After Three-Year Hiatus

by Holly

In a significant development, air travel links between North Korea and China have been reestablished, heralding the return of connectivity between the “Hermit Kingdom” and the “Middle Kingdom.”

On Tuesday, a historic event transpired as Air Koryo’s JS151 flight, originating from Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, touched down at Beijing’s PEK airport at precisely 9:17 a.m. local time. The Beijing Capital International Airport website confirmed this notable milestone.


This instance marks the resumption of international commercial flights departing from North Korea since the nation sealed its borders in January 2020, opting to sever nearly all external interactions to avert the risk of surging coronavirus cases.


The revival of regular flights by North Korea’s flag carrier, Air Koryo, between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and China was given the green light by Chinese authorities. This decision aligns with the evolving COVID-19 travel directives issued by China earlier this year. A formal statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed this arrangement.


In a parallel development, the anticipated reinstatement of flights between North Korea and Russia is set to occur on Friday, August 25. This comes as a significant move following a hiatus since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. CNN had previously reported on this impending reconnection.

The newly restored flights, with a duration of one hour, will bridge the distance between Pyongyang and the southeastern Russian city of Vladivostok. This route holds symbolic significance as it links the North Korean capital to the site of a landmark summit in 2019 between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.



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