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Dear Sky: Air Koryo

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Dear Sky: Air Koryo

Air Koryo is the state-owned national airline of North Korea. International sanctions and environmental restrictions have reduced the airline’s international destinations with only China and Vladivostok remaining.

The old Antonovs, Ilyushins and Tupolevs rarely fly abroad and therefore seem superfluous.

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Nevertheless, these aircraft and their crews are kept ready for operation. Occasional domestic flights are all the more important for the flight attendants and pilots to practice and to keep up their knowledge and skills.

Arthur Mebius monitors the routine operations by the crew which appears as a rehearsed play of maintenance, controls and procedures. A beautiful ground control dance of which an image of dedication and pride arises.

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The book is complemented with fictive anecdotes based on true historical events.

Flight to Moscow onboard Tu-154

August 17, 1975

On the far side of the Yalu River into China, Shenyang is very much a Korean city, but beyond is the rest of China, a place of extremes expressed as political calamity; and on the long trek to Moscow are Irkursk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk – frozen solid in winter, wild and untamed in summer. How happy are the interepid and brave crew of Choson Minhang to return to the predictable and orderly world of their beloved leader.

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Il-62 Schonefeld turnaround

February 12, 1980

Pools of yellow light illuminate the freezing fog. A cross-section of the Interflug fleet are scattered around the airfield.
The visitors’ terrace on the roof of the passenger terminal, busy in summer with kids and their parents watching the comings and goings of Aeroflot, JAT, LOT, Tarom, Malev and the rest, is empty.

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After a long and tiring journey from Pyongyang via Moscow and Sofia, the Il-62 jetliner can rest while the handful of passengers wearily clamber down the steps to the damp German tarmac and disappear into the gloomy city, swallowed up by the small line of Trabant taxis waiting outside arrivals to take them to the Berlin Stadt Interhotel, to a military base, to apartments in marching tower blocks not dissimilar to the neighbourhoods of cities back home.

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The flight, traversing entire Eurasia, operates every week as regular as a Hamhung city tram.

Photographer Arthur Mebius (Hilversum, The Netherlands, 1971) studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. Besides his work for commercial advertising, he is constantly working on personal projects with a strong interest on aviation.

For more information, and to buy the book, visit:

BLOC Hotels London Gatwick

They say it's better to travel than to arrive. We think both are important. With BLOC you won't have far to travel at all. We're waiting to welcome you just steps from Gatwick South Terminal Departures. Any closer and we'd be on the runway!

Our 245 room hotel offers 'Sleep Haven Zones', family rooms, a business floor and Presidential Suite. Park at the terminal through one of our exclusive deals; check your bags with your airline and take your overnight bag to the room; send an email with free WiFi; relax on your sumptuous king-sized bed, watching one of our HD LED TVs; freshen up in a monsoon-drench shower wet room and seamlessly check out to arrive at your gate in a great mood to enjoy your holiday or business trip. So much more for less.

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BLOC Magazine

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As summer draws to a close, the autumn issue of our magazine looks forward to some exciting events that are taking place in our nation's capital, London and second-city, Birmingham.

London is easily accessible from our Gatwick hotel and Birmingham is soon to be home of a second BLOC. Behind the scenes, we're working hard to add other locations where you can sample our affordable luxury.

At BLOC, we have distilled the finest ingredients into a package that provides perfect, yet affordable conditions for any overnight stay in prime locations. It's about no-nonsense style and function.

BLOC magazine embraces this theme. We've curated some of the favourite things we have discovered on our travels including the wonders of the Emerald Isle, Bentley's new concept, travel tech and apps as well as food and drink destinations.

You will also find details of BLOC's new VIP Guest List - don't forget to sign up to be eligible for free room upgrades, free coffee and be the first to hear about our blockbuster VIP competitions.

We hope that this magazine provides you with insight and entertainment on your journey.

You can view all of the articles on this site or view an online FREE version of the magazine, here.

We’ll also be adding to and updating this site with more cool stuff that we find on our travels. Jump on board!

Your journey begins here.