Skip to navigationSkip to content

Kim Jung-un is calling for a facelift for North Korea’s capital airport

Getty Images/Feng Li
Not the image of an economic powerhouse.
By Lily Kuo
North KoreaPublished Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

In yet another hint of opening for the reclusive North Korean economy, the country’s boxy, Soviet-era style Pyongyang airport may soon get a makeover.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un has asked architects reportedly charged with redesigning a military airport in the east of the country to submit designs to upgrade Pyongyang’s airport (paywall) as well, according to the South China Morning Post. Otto Cheng Peng-lun of PLT Planning and Architecture told the paper that his plans to convert a military airport in Wonsan into one for civilian use had impressed Kim Jong-un, who commented that the capital airport shouldn’t look worse than Wonsan’s.

Such new projects suggest at least some economic progress in North Korea, whose economy grew 1.3% last year, faster than Brazil’s, propped up by a growing informal sector as well as trade with China. North Korea has also said it is building economic zones that would allow foreign investment in certain industrial sectors, as well as a world-class ski resort.

Here are some photos of the architects’ design plans for the new civilian airport in Wonsan, which would eventually serve tourists from South Korea who are allowed to visit the area. Photos are from one of the architects on the project, Karolis Kazlauskas:


📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.