Pyongyang Sunan International Airport

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Pyongyang Sunan
International Airport

평양 순안 국제공항
P'yŏngyang Sunan Kukche Pihaengchang
Pyongyang Sunan International Airport logo.png
Pyongyang Airport Terminal 2 (21695202686).jpg
Terminal 2 airside
WMO: 47058
Airport type Public
Owner North Korean government
Serves Pyongyang, North Korea
Location Sunan District
Hub for Air Koryo
Elevation AMSL 117 ft / 36 m
Coordinates 39°13′26″N 125°40′12″E / 39.22389°N 125.67000°E / 39.22389; 125.67000
FNJ is located in North Korea
Location in North Korea
Direction Length Surface
m ft
01/19 3,800 12,467 Concrete
17/35 3,200 10,499 Concrete
Pyongyang Sunan International Airport
Revised Romanization Pyeongyang Sunan Gukje Bihaengjang
McCune–Reischauer P'yŏngyang Sunan Kukche Pihaengchang

Pyongyang Sunan International Airport (IATA: FNJICAO: ZKPY) is the main airport serving Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). It is located in the city's Sunan-guyŏk district, 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the city's centre. The airport is the main hub for the national flag carrier, Air Koryo, and is served by only one other airline, Air China.


Early years[edit]

The first airport in Pyongyang was located east of the Taedong River. However, after World War II there was a need for a newer airport, and Sunan Airfield was constructed.

During the Korean War, the airport was occupied by United Nations forces for seven weeks in late 1950. The forces flew large amounts of supplies to Sunan during this period. On 13 May 1953 the airport was inundated when the US Air Force bombed Toksan Dam. After an armistice was signed two months later, the North Korean Government started repairing and expanding the airport.[1]

Development since the 2000s[edit]

In 2000, Aeroflot discontinued its flights from Moscow and later discontinued its services from Khabarovsk.[2][3] China Southern Airlines offered scheduled charter flights to and from Beijing during the peak season only, and permanently pulled its flights in October 2006.[4] In March 2008, Air China re-established service to Beijing, three days a week.[5] Korean Air and Asiana Airlines also provided chartered flight services to Seoul and Yangyang on the east coast of South Korea from Pyongyang. These flights were used by Korean family members visiting divided family across the border.[2]


By early 2011 an interim facility handling international flights had been constructed just south of the existing terminal. By early 2012 demolishing of the existing terminal, which Kim Jong-un deemed too small and outdated, had begun. In July 2012 he ordered the construction of a new terminal.[6] Besides this, a new control tower and VIP terminal north of the main terminal were constructed.[7] The project became part of a "speed campaign", in which thousands of workers were enlisted to quickly complete it. Most construction was carried out by hand or with simple tools.[8]

Kim Jong-un made frequent inspections of progress. During an inspection in November 2014, he complained about the design and had parts of the terminal torn down and rebuilt. In May 2015 he is believed to have executed head designer Ma Won Chun, as part of a government purge.[6][9][10] On 1 July 2015 the new terminal was opened as Terminal 2, with Premier Pak Pong-ju officiating the inauguration ceremony.[11]

Latest developments[edit]

In late 2015, China's Spring Airlines applied to the CAAC to begin scheduled flights to Pyongyang from Shanghai–Pudong in early 2016. The airline would be the first low-cost carrier and second foreign airline to fly to North Korea.[12]


Terminal 1[edit]

Terminal 1 served as an interim international terminal between the closure and eventual demolition of the original terminal, and the opening of Terminal 2 in July 2015. Since then it has closed and is undergoing construction work.

Terminal 2[edit]

Terminal 2 under construction in June 2014

Terminal 2 opened on 1 July 2015. It is a multistory building with at least 12 check-in counters and three gates, each equipped with jetways. In addition, there is a newsstand, coffee bar, Internet room, duty-free store, and other shops.[6][13]

The terminal is six times larger than the original terminal.[6] It currently handles all domestic and international flights, although it is only set up for international flights as all arrivals go through the immigration and customs hall, with domestic arrivals bypassing immigration officers and customs procedures through an informal channel.


The airport has two runways, 01/19 (northern) and 17/35 (southern). Runway 01/19 is equipped with ILS for precision approaches from both directions, while runway 17/35 is closed.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Air Koryo aircraft on the apron
Airlines Destinations
Air China Beijing–Capital
Air Koryo Beijing–Capital, Chongjin, Hamhung, Samjiyon, Shanghai–Pudong, Shenyang, Vladivostok
Charter: Changchun, Zhengzhou
Seasonal charter: Harbin, Yanji


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Corfield, Justin (2014). Historical Dictionary of Pyongyang. London, UK and New York, NY: Anthem Press. p.198.
  2. ^ a b Willoughby, Robert (2014). North Korea: The Bradt Travel Guide. Guilford, CT: The Globe Pequot Press Inc. Archived online at Google Books.
  3. ^ "1985/86: AEROFLOT Network". Airline Route. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ "China Southern to Halt Pyongyang Flights". The Chosun Ilbo via China Aviation Daily. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ Rabinovitch, Simon (31 March 2008). "Air China launches flights to North Korea". Reuters. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "10 things to know about North Korea's new airport terminal". The Straits Times. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  7. ^ "North Korea to open new terminal at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport". Airport Technology. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  8. ^ "North Korea enlists thousands of workers to finish new airport". Associated Press via The Guardian. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  9. ^ Ware, Jessica (29 June 2015). "Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed ". The Independent. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  10. ^ Jones, Charlie (1 July 2015). Inside North Korea's new airport – in pictures. The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  11. ^ "With great fanfare, Pyongyang opens new airport terminal". Associated Press. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  12. ^ " Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines plans North Korea route". 24 November 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Pyongyang International Airport’s new internet room is missing something vital". Associated Press via The National. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.

External links[edit]