Air China has suspended its service to Pyongyang (FNJ), North Korea, effective immediately.
Air China cites a lack of demand as the reason behind the route cancellation, but I question that. Earlier this week U.S. President Donald Trump added North Korea to the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorisms. Furthermore, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed a unified voice on the severity of the North Korea situation during meetings in Beijing last week. Trump is also expected to announce further sanctions on North Korea this week.
All of that raises some concern. One report indicates that Air China pulled all its staff and sold its remaining assets in North Korea. Also, China’s Special Envoy to North Korea was present on the final flight out of Pyongyang.
About 1,000,000 Chinese visit North Korea every year. This route will cancellation will further isolate an already hermetic kingdom and casts ominous shadows on what may be to come. As North Korea’s largest trading partner, the deterioration of relations between China and the DPRK is quite concerning.
Or this could be all about economics and the fact that Air China could not fill up its planes…
Don’t worry, Air Koryo will still take you to Beijing and several other cities in China and Russia. It’s international route map currently includes:
- Beijing (China)
- Shanghai (China)
- Shenyang (China)
- Dandong (China)
- Vladivostok (Russia)
Air China temporarily suspended its Pyongyang service in April, only to resume it three weeks later. It appears this latest move will be a more prolonged cancellation.
image: calflier001 / Wikimedia Commons