Air China Cuts Off North Korea

Nov 21, 2017

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The only non-North Korean airline to serve the hermit kingdom has ended its service to the country. As reported by Airlineroute, Air China operated its last flight between Beijing (PEK) and Pyongyang (FNJ) on November 20.

State-owned Air China said that its decision to end the route had to do with the route not being profitable for the airline. According to ABC News, an employee of the airline’s press office said that flights were “temporarily suspended due to unsatisfactory business operations.”

With Air China no longer a player in the North Korean market, the state-owned Air Koryo is now the only commercial airline with regularly scheduled service to the isolated country.

Air China launched its PEK-FNJ route in 2008. In recent months, the carrier has scaled back from daily service to just two weekly flights. At the time of the cutbacks earlier this year, Air China also cited lack of demand. According to the Air China employee, it’s not clear if or when service on the route might resume.

In addition, at this point it’s not yet known if Air Koryo will be able to continue to operate its routes to China — Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Dandong. It’s only non-Chinese destination is Vladivostok in Russia.

As of September 1, 2017, the US banned its citizens from entering the isolated country. Effective that date, US passports were invalidated for travel into, in or through North Korea. In order to visit the country, Americans wishin to visit must obtain a special validation passport.

Featured image by Zhang Peng / Getty Images.

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