North Korea and South Korea Might Start Flights Between Them

May 7, 2018

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More international flights may soon be coming to North Korea. North Korea has asked permission from the International Civil Aviation Organization to launch flights to its neighbor, South Korea.

The notable move comes just a week after the historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. US President Donald Trump plans on meeting with Kim Jong-Un in the coming months. The North and South are still technically at war since a 1953 ceasefire, but the recent developments mean that the process that might lead to a peace treaty could start soon.

North Korea operates commercial flights to two other countries, Russia and China, on its national carrier, Air Koryo. Nobody else flies to the reclusive nation.

An Air Koryo Ilyushin 62, a Soviet four-engine jet designed in the 1960s
An Air Koryo Ilyushin 62, a Soviet four-engine jet designed in the 1960s (Photo by Charles Kennedy)

The new route would allow service between the North Korean capital, Pyongyang (FNJ) and Seoul / Incheon airport (ICN) according to emails received by Agence France-Presse.

The ICAO relayed the message to South Korean aviation authorities and said it was willing to “facilitate and support further discussions.” A delegation from the ICAO will travel to North Korea to discuss the proposal and “other air navigation and safety matters.”

Special charter flights between the two Koreas occurred before the Olympics in February, the first time that’s happened since 1994.

According to Singapore’s Straits Times, North Korea is also willing to open its so-called “flight information region” to South Korea which would essentially open its airspace to South Korean airlines. The South Korean aviation industry says it would save them nearly 16 billion South Korean won (about $15 million) a year if the area was opened to South Korea, since carriers currently have to avoid the area. That means they could save up to 500 kilometers (300 miles) when flying, for example, from Incheon to the US since they would no longer need to avoid North Korea.

Featured image courtesy by C. V. Grinsven/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images. 

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