Archive for the ‘Kuwait’ Category

Air Koryo launches/cancels Kuwait service

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

UPDATE 3 (2011-11-15): NK News has more on the unofficial Air Koryo Facebook Page here.

UPDATE 2 (2011-11-12): The unofficial Air Koryo Facebook Page posted the following comment in response to a question about service to Kuwait (thanks to a reader for the pointer):

It is not canceled. It is restricted bookings just like Moscow services.

The comment is followed by this one:

Kwang-tae Kim: I am a reporter of South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. Can u elaborate on why bookings are restricted and when bookings will be resumed? Some people speculated that it could be North Korea’s attempt to prevent the news of popular uprisings in the Arab world from reaching North Korea. Do u have any comment? Thanks

UPDATE 1 (2011-11-12): According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s flag carrier has canceled an air route to Kuwait, Airline Route blog says, in what could be Pyongyang’s latest attempt to prevent the news of popular uprisings in the Arab world from reaching the isolated country.

The move came less than six months after Air Koryo started a weekly direct flight service between Pyongyang and Kuwait City, Airline Route said Monday on its Web site, citing the carrier’s planned winter operation.

In late May, Air Koryo announced the service on its Facebook page, adding that a large number of North Koreans work in the Middle East.

The North’s airline has not yet commented on the reported cancellation of the service on its Facebook page, which was last updated late in October.

Here is the source information for this story:

As per 07NOV11 GDS timetable display, the following is North Korean flag carrier Air Koryo’s planned Winter 2011/12 operation.

Pyongyang – Bangkok
JS153 FNJ1020 – 1420BKK T20 4
JS154 BKK1220 – 2000FNJ T20 4

Pyongyang – Beijing
JS151 FNJ0900 – 0955PEK T20 26
JS251 FNJ1030 – 1130PEK T20 4

JS152 PEK1255 – 1600FNJ T20 26
JS252 PEK1405 – 1710FNJ T20 4

Pyongyang – Kuala Lumpur
JS159 FNJ1340 – 2000KUL T20 14
JS160 KUL2300 – 0730+1FNJ T20 25

Pyongyang – Kuwait Service Cancelled

Pyongyang – Shenyang
JS155 FNJ1200 – 1210SHE T20 36
JS156 SHE1500 – 1710FNJ T20 36

Pyongyang – Vladivostok
JS271 FNJ0830 – 1220VVO T20 5
JS272 VVO1830 – 1820FNJ T20 5

On an similar note, according to the Air Koryo Facebook page (Oct 28):

Air Koryo 2012 European Charters:

We are glad to announce to our European Union fans that Air Koryo will indeed be operating a seasonal service to Germany with a service from Pyongyang’s Sunan to Berlin’s Schonefeld airport. The serivces will operate from April till May 2012 and will operate weekly. Service dates are currently listing as first departure of 12 April and final flight 3 May. All service will be operated by Tupolev Tu-204 aircraft.

More information including timetable and official route i.e. non-stop or one stop will be released soon.

The flight will operate via Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, the flights will operate on alternate dates to the weekly direct flight to Moscow. Note that the flight to Berlin will be a direct flight, and not non-stop. The service will be operated by the larger Tu-204-100E

ORIGINAL POST (2011-6-1): According to an online aviation forum:

Air Koryo are opening a new route to Kuwait City, to operate once a week.

Outbound (Tue, day 2): JS 161 FNJ 1800 / KWI 0110+1
Return (Wed, day 3): JS 162 KWI 1400 / FNJ 0500+1
Aircraft: Tupolev Tu-204-300

From the schedule it is obvious that the aircraft parks for thirteen hours, enabling the crew to have an eight hour sleep before operating the machine back to Pyongyang.

The Tu-204-300 is the long haul, “SP” version of the 204, and the Air Koryo machine (they have just the one, plus a pair of regular -200s) is the only airframe of the type exported from Russia. It is also used on flights to Moscow, plus Beijing of course.

It is an interesting choice of route out of the hermit kingdom. The airline says, “We are glad to announce Air Koryo has started serving Kuwait City, the capital of the Arabic nation of Kuwait, with a weekly Tupolev Tu-204-300 serivce. The route offers many connections onto the Middle East, Iran, Africa and offers business links in the region.”

A reader in the comments points out that one of the DPRK’s new Tupolevs was in Kuwait on March 25, 2011 at 10:54 CET, so the route may already be in use.

In April 2011, Air Koryo announced regular service to Kuala Lumpur.

UPDATE: This was apparently picked up by VOA and Yonhap.

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Kuwait funding DPRK water and sanitation projects

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

UPDATE: According to the Pyongyang Times:

The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has decided to loan on the updating of sewage treatment facilities in Pyongyang.

The ceremony for signing a loan-giving agreement took place on November 19 at the People’s Palace of Culture, which was attended by a delegation from the Ministry of City Management led by Deputy Minister Ri Kang Hui and a delegation from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development headed by Deputy General Director Hesham Ebraheem Alwaqayan.

The fund will provide long-term low-interest loan for the technological renovation of sewage facilities in Pyongyang.

The loan will be spent on upgrading dozens of pumping stations.

The agreement was inked by Ri Kang Hui and Hesham Ebraheem Alwaqayan.

The Kuwait fund had loaned on the Pyongyang drinking water service reconstruction in 2003.

The DPRK ministry spent the loan on upgrading water purification plants, increasing water production capacity, updating and expanding drinking water service networks and establishing information system on drinking water service and completed the project in February last year.

ORIGINAL POST (2008-11-26): Although the DPRK is doing its best to chase away South Korean investment, the Kuwaiti government is providing Pyongyang with a USD$21.7 million loan to construct water and sanitation facilities.

The Kuwait Fund for Economic Development (KFAED) stated here on Sunday that it will sign a loan agreement with North Korea in a few days which is valued at KD 6.2 million (USD 21.7 million) to help in financiaing a sanitation system project.

In a statement to the media FKAED added the suggested project contributes in improving a the environment and public health by raising the performance of city sewage systems.

With this second loan, KFAED financing to North Korea is to come to KD 12.4 million (USD 43.4 million), going into development projects in water and sanitation sectors.  This is in addition to technical assistance of KD 153.5 thousand (USD 537,000).

I am unsure what exactly Kuwait’s play is here.  Altruism is well and good, but an unconvincing motive for such a hefty sum of money.  The only other narrative that I can imagine is awfully cynical:  If these sanitation projects are constructed by Kuwaiti contractors and engineers using Kuwaiti parts and supplies, then international development officials should be aware that the DPRK offers many opportunities to channel development funds into the coffers of supporters back home—you just have to make sure Pyongyang gets its cut.

Does anyone else have a theory?

Read the full story here:
Kuwait News Agency
11/16/2008

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