SEOUL Oct 24 The world's only one star airline,
North Korea's Air Koryo, has finally joined the Internet age
with an online booking service, offering flights to and from the
isolated state to Beijing and Shenyang in China as well as
Vladivostok in Russia.
The website (www.airkoryo.com.kp/en/home) says it
started operations in August and promises "a convenient
reservation ... day and night".
Air Koryo is the only airline ranked as a one-star service
by Skytrax global airline ranking, a rating that represents
"very poor quality performance".
The airline uses mainly Russian-built Tupolev aircraft on
its international flights although older, Soviet-era aircraft
are also still used domestically.
Few North Koreans are allowed to travel outside their
North Korea expert Leonid Petrov was quoted on North
Korea-watching website NK News (www.nknews.org) as saying:
"Clearly, this website is created with the purpose to impress
the people who have never thought of traveling to Pyongyang".
A business class flight to Beijing was listed online at a
price of $374, a lot for a country where annual gross domestic
product per capita is estimated at $1,800.
(Writing by David Chance; Editing by Robert Birsel)