Andrei Tupolev was an engineering hero. When he saw that the Tu-124’s wingroot engines were sub-optimal for unpaved airfields and difficult to maintain, he decided to change it and create what would be the most prolific regional jet of the Warsaw Pact: the Tupolev Tu-134.
With most of the Russian airlines having replaced their Tu-134 with Canadair Regional Jets, once again- Air Koryo (airline code: JS) is your best bet to catch a ride. Flights within Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are always challenging to arrange. Not only do you need permission from the landing and departing airport, you also need permission to overfly every province and air defense district.
It turns out that “flying on a vintage Russian aircraft” is not enough to satisfy the DPRK bureaucracy. As such, the tour guides always needed a more conventional “touristy” reason for the flights to be conducted for approvals to be granted quickly. On top of that, the guides had to be granted permission to leave Pyongyang months in advance.