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China to limit operations of North Korean airline after forced landing

China will limit the operations of North Korean carrier Air Koryo after one of its aircraft made an emergency landing in the northeastern city of Shenyang last month.

The plane, a Russian-built Tupolev TU-204-300, was flying to Beijing from Pyongyang when it made a forced landing in Shenyang because of smoke in the cabin. The plane landed safely and there were no casualties.

Fire on board North Korean passenger jet forces it to make emergency landing in China

China’s civil aviation regulator said in a statement on Wednesday that an investigation had found that the smoke had come from a call button located under a luggage rack.

The regulator said the incident highlighted three problems that the carrier now had to fix: improving its training on how to handle such incidents; improving its communications with air traffic control; and upgrading its aircraft maintenance.

The airline also needed to offer better training on handling burst tyres, engine fires, emergency decompression and traffic-collision-avoidance system warnings, the regulator added.

China would take “corresponding measures to limit operations” for Air Koryo, it said, without giving details.

An official reached by telephone at the airline’s Beijing office said she was unaware of the situation. She declined to comment further.

Most of Air Koryo’s scheduled international flights are to China. It also flies to Russia’s Far East.

Odes to Kim Jong-un and dripping air conditioners: Is North Korea’s one-star Air Koryo really the world’s worst airline?

Independent ratings website Skytrax lists Air Koryo as the world’s only one-star airline for poor quality standards, though it does not measure safety.

Few North Koreans are allowed to travel outside their isolated country.

The North Korean state-owned airline uses a small number of mainly Russian-built Tupolev aircraft on international flights but older, Soviet-era aircraft are flown within the country.

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