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Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
Air China will resume regular flights between Beijing and Pyongyang on June 6 following an over six-month hiatus, a booking agent for the company confirmed to NK News on Tuesday.
The route will operate every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday under its usual flight number CA121, departing from Beijing at 1325 CST and arriving in Pyongyang at 1620 KST.
One-way tickets for the Beijing-Pyongyang leg are once again available for purchase on the company’s website, the booking agent said, though return flights from Pyongyang cannot be bought from Air China at this time.
The Boeing B737-800 is scheduled to depart from Pyongyang on the same day at 1720 KST and arrive in Beijing at 2015 CST.
This week’s resumption of services marks the end of an even longer hiatus for the route than in 2016/2017, when the company did not run flights to Pyongyang between November and March.
According to NK Pro Aviation Tracker data, Air China also did not service the route in the winter months between 2011 and 2016 (excluding 2014), though these pauses were much shorter than in the past two years.
Air China stopped flights to Pyongyang in late November last year, meaning the route had, as of this week, been on hold for over half a year.
The most recent halt in services also coincided with a larger unofficial ban on tourism to North Korea imposed by the Chinese government, confirmed by NK News last November.
A fatal bus crash on April 22, which reportedly killed 30 Chinese tourists, suggested that the policy had changed sometime earlier this year, however.
NK News revealed only a few days later that the crash prompted the Chinese government to impose another unofficial ban on tours to the country.
This week’s return to Pyongyang by the Chinese airliner, however, suggests the ban has once again been lifted.
Additional reporting by Hamish Macdonald
Edited by Oliver Hotham