SINGAPORE - Singaporean Aram Pan, 38, is one lucky man.
The freelance photographer was given rare access to take pictures in North Korea last month while on different aircraft types owned by the state-owned airline Air Koryo. Usually, no pictures are allowed on any of the aircraft.
Mr Pan did so while on a tour with UK-based company Juche Travel, which has been running Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) aviation tours for the past three years, The Daily Mail reported.
The images he captured show how the air stewardesses, in-flight meals and cockpit of various aircraft look like, among other things.
Here are some of his gems taken on the Ilyushin Il-18, a Soviet aircraft that had its first flight in 1957:
Air Koryo flight attendants dressed in smart, navy-blue outfits with white trimmings greeted Mr Pan before he boarded the aircraft.
The female flight attendants served drinks from plastic cups. -- PHOTO: ARAM PAN (www.dprk360.com)
Here, the flight attendants are seen preparing to serve drinks from plastic cups. Mr Pan told The Daily Mail that they were “polite and soft-spoken”, and wore their hair tied up in buns.
Mr Pan snapped a shot of one of his in-flight meals, which consisted of rice, chicken, a fruit cocktail and a piece of cake. He told The Daily Mail that the food on board was “better than I expected”.
The toilet cubicle in the Ilyushin Il-18 had a metal washbasin. Mr Pan said the aircraft toilets in general were clean and had “no foul smell”.
The cabin seats in the Ilyushin Il-18 were covered with a sky-blue coloured fabric, and its floors were carpeted in dark-blue.
In place of shades were curtains, which passengers could draw across the windows to block out the light.
Inside the Ilyushin Il-18 there are blue chairs and blue carpet. -- PHOTO: ARAM PAN (www.dprk360.com)
Instead of enclosed baggage compartments, baggage were stowed away on open overhead ledges.
Unlike most modern commercial flights that now come with digital screens for each passenger, there weren’t any personal entertainment systems on this flight. In its place: just a huge tray table. In-flight entertainment was limited to a single channel that only played DPRK dramas and documentaries, Mr Pan told The Daily Mail.
Inside the cockpit of the Ilyushin Il-18. -- PHOTO: ARAM PAN (www.dprk360.com)
There’s clearly nothing very digital in the cockpit of this turboprop airliner. The flight communication officer even used what seems to be a very worn pair of headphones to communicate with the air traffic control.
Photos by Aram Pan (www.dprk360.com)