As North Korea’s national carrier Air Koryo is named the worst airline in the world, facilities at Pyongyang’s new airport terminal are criticized.
Pyongyang International now boasts a shiny new terminal which purports to offer the same features found in airports all over the world, although a quick glance reveals that all is not as it seems, writes Eric Talmadge for The Guardian.
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Internet room out of use in new airport terminal
Passengers visiting the airport will see coffee shops, souvenir shops, a DVD stand and a huge billboard showing Air Koryo staff in their blue and red uniforms. You can even make the choice between white chocolate and dark chocolate fountains.
But dig beneath the glossy exterior and you will find that some of the amenities do not live up to their billing. For one, the internet room does not have an internet connection.
The AP correspondent to North Korea explains that on two recent trips through the airport, the three computers in the internet room were either being used by employees or had had their keyboards removed. Airport officials refused to confirm whether the removal of the keyboards was a temporary glitch.
North Korean airline voted worst in world
In more bad news for North Korea’s aviation industry, Air Koryo has been named the worst airline in the world. Skytrax, the organization which monitors international aviation standards, has handed the airline the dubious honor for the past 4 years in a row. Air Koryo received a one-star rating, with Skytrax flagging up “questionable” safety and poor-quality safety belts.
Internet access in North Korea is heavily controlled, and the internet room in the airport may seem strange. Only a small number of North Koreans are allowed to use the domestic internet, which is itself censored by the government.
The inclusion of the internet room is designed to give the impression that North Korea is a country like any other. The nearby smoking room is also a reference to international norms.
In North Korea almost every adult male who can afford to smoke does so, but in the smoking room there is a large sign warning visitors of the dangers of the habit.