Kim Jong-Un And His Personal Aircraft — Are They Outdated Enough Yet?

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Kim Jong-Un is infamous for his stand on politics and nuclear weapons. The supreme leader of North Korea and his life has been watched closely by international media. However it is for the first time that his aircraft has come under the lens.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

Two aircraft owned by the state-run North Korean airline Air Koryo have been spotted in the coastal city of Dalian in China. Speculations are up and about that one of the two aircraft had on board Kim Jong-Un himself.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

One of the aircraft was an Ilyushin IL-76MD cargo aircraft while the other was an Ilyushin IL-62 commercial airliner. Both aircraft are from the Soviet Union era with the IL-76 first taking flight way back in 1971 and the IL-62 even earlier in 1963.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The Ilyushin IL-76 is a popular aircraft used by the Air Defence Forces of many nations, including India. The Indian Air Force uses an IL-78 which is a an air-to-air refuelling tanker based on the IL-76. However, the IL-76 used by Kim Jong-Un is a vintage aircraft in contrast to the ones used by other nations.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The IL-76 though is a few years younger to the IL-62 which Kim Jong-Un used to travel to Dalian. Way back in 1963, when the IL-62 first took flight, it became the largest passenger airliner in the world.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The aircraft was used by more than 30 countries and their airlines in the following years. However, the aircraft lost its position as the biggest aircraft when the Boeing 747 first took flight in 1969.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The Ilyushin IL-62 was an expensive aircraft to maintain and various airlines soon started disposing their aircraft, opting for more efficient aircraft instead. Today, only a few examples of the IL-62 remain, and this one operated by Air Koryo is one of the few air-worthy aircraft.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

Well, it is air-worthy in the sight of the North Korean Government at the least. Because, the very same aircraft that the North Korean government has approved to carry their supreme leader has been banned from flying over Europe owing to safety concerns.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

Well, it is air-worthy in the sight of the North Korean Government at the least. Because, the very same aircraft that the North Korean government has approved to carry their supreme leader has been banned from flying over Europe owing to safety concerns.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

Countries that form the European Union have banned Air Koryo from operating in their airspace as the aircraft are extremely old and unsafe. The one aircraft used by Kim Jong-Un obviously would have been outfitted for luxury and enough stock of alcohol and other things that he might crave for, mid-flight.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The other aircraft being operated by Air Koryo though have a different reputation altogether. Air Koryo is far from receiving even a single star on Global Skytrax ratings as the airline is not even listed on Skytrax.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The food offered to passengers is terrible according to those who have travelled on Air Koryo. One look at the cockpit s enough to give anybody an idea of how sophisticated the aircraft are. The infotainment system and in-flight speakers continuously play North Korean Propaganda.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

However, the jetliners are so loud that the propaganda is subdued by the noise cause by the engines and all the rattling and juddering.Most people in North Korea have had no taste of flying at all and definitely no experience of flying with a foreign airline. Air Koryo and its vintage equipment therefore continue to operate unperturbed within the state.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

The International destinations reached by Air Koryo have reduced to just a few Chinese cities including Dalian and Vladivostok in Russia. Alongside the Ilyushin aircraft, the North Korean airline operates ancient Antonov and Tupolev aircraft.

Aircraft Used By North Korean President - Kim Jong-Un’s Aircraft

Thoughts On Kim Jong-Un's Aircraft

Heads of state in different countries use the best flying equipment out there. From souped-up Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s to Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, these aircraft have saunas and luxurious bedrooms. However, with his vintage aircraft, the North Korean leader seems to have opted out of all this, just like he has chosen to sit out world politics and International affairs.

Read more on: #off beat
Story first published: Saturday, May 12, 2018, 9:00 [IST]
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