Air Transportation: North Korea Gets What It Needs

Archives

September 2, 2010: North Korea has ordered another Tu-204 airliner from Russia. The first one arrived three years ago, and was the first Tu-204 to be exported. The second one may never arrive. That’s because North Korea is now in a similar situation to Iran, as in lots of embargos. The Russians want to export the Tu-204 in the worst possible way, but there are more and more laws in the way when it comes to North Korea. Yet North Korea really needs this other Tu-204, for air freight remains the more effective way to smuggle forbidden items in and out of the country. The North Koreans want to do this on aircraft they control.

But the stronger embargo rules may block it. Take the example of Iran. For the last five years, Iran has been trying to buy five Russian Tu-204 airliners to replace some of the aging American aircraft (like 1970s era C-130s) that it is still using. The Tu-204 is a two engine jet, that can carry up to 210 passengers, or 21 tons of cargo. The Iranians want a version of the 204 that can quickly be converted into all-passenger or all-freighter use. The Tu-204 weighs about 100 tons, and can fly 4,000 kilometers per hop. It is a relatively inexpensive airliner in its class, costing about $40 million each. Iran is not supposed to be able to buy military transports, but Russia is willing to pretend that the Tu-204s won't be used mainly for military purposes, just like the older American aircraft they are replacing. But even that isn’t working, because these aircraft contain U.S. components, like the engines (which are built in Russia under license.) Russia needs American permission to export the U.S. technology to nations under embargo.

 

 

 


Article Archive

Air Transportation: Current 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close