Daily Mail reports that Air Koryo came last in a list of 600 carriers, receiving only a one-star rating. Airlines are ranked according to various criteria, including aircraft age and efficiency, in-flight meals and service.
The North Korean carrier was penalised for its aging aircraft (they haven't purchased even one new one in over 20 years), and outdated practices.
Also see: A North Korean aircraft we bet you’d never want to board
This comes despite the country's leader Kim Jong-Un attempting to revitalise the airline's image.
Air Koryo was banned from entering EU airspace in 2006, due to safety and maintenance concerns. In the meantime, the ban has been lifted on a small part of its fleet, which consists of TU-204 aircraft.
What makes Air Koryo's poor performance stand out even more is the fact that most of the airlines who top the list are all based in the far East, providing a stark contrast to North Korea.
These include ANA (Japan), Asiana Airlines (South Korea - ooh! that's got to burn!), Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines. South African Airways falls among the four-star rated.
Despite the bad rating, many readers came out in defense of the airline when Traveller24 posted a previous article about it, with some saying that they had seen a lot worse. This is what a few readers had to say:
Petri Van Zyl - North Korea's fleet is old and lack the comfort of modern planes. That is purely a result of their politics and economics. That does not say that the planes are not safe to fly in and that the airline is not professional. Everything was on standard at the time the plane was built and all planes used to look more or less the same. The tribute is that these old planes are still flying while the others has been disbanded in plane graveyards.
Kosmonooit - Cockpit looks good to me - no fancy computers that de-skill pilots and make them lazy, so lazy that they forget how to fly the frigging aeroplane
Blackwolf - This article is very misleading. I travel every 28 days on flights all over the world. In the last decade I have travelled on much much worse than this. Try flying domestic in the Congo, Nigeria or Angola.
Kim Klemp - It's still flying unlike some modern aircraft's that have crashed this year ,this proves the latest and greatest is not always the safest .