North Korea’s national airline has suffered the humiliation of being named the world’s worst for the fourth year running. For its annual table, the UK aviation agency Skytrax rated 600 airlines on a whole range of points among which were their flight punctuality, check-in and cabin services, and onboard meal quality.
Not only did Air Koryo come last in the table of 600, it was the only carrier to garner one star out of the maximum five. In contrast, South Korea’s Asiana Airlines only just missed the top ten of the planet’s best airlines.
The age of the Air Koryo fleet was another issue the airline stalled on. It has not added any new aeroplanes to its fleet for two decades and a fair portion of them left Soviet assembly hangars in the 1960s. The age of the fleet is not only uncomfortable for passengers as pilots are forced to fly without many of the technological aids that modern aircraft are fitted with as standard.
Other downsides of flying Air Koryo are that check-in counter staff have to hand weigh passengers’ baggage and the highlight of the onboard entertainment is North Korean propaganda videos. The flag-carrier mostly flies to domestic destinations as well as Beijing and Shanghai in China.
The age of the Air Koryo fleet was an issue back in 2006. The EU issued a ban prohibiting the carrier’s aircraft from its airspace. The ban was relaxed four years afterwards to allow the airline’s Tupolev Tu-204s to fly to European locations.