North Korea has for decades been notorious for being among the most isolated countries in the world, and is for this reason for this reason often called the "hermit kingdom".
A mere two airlines regularly fly in and out of Pyongyang Airport: North Korea's own national carrier Air Koryo and the much larger Air China out of Beijing. At a moment Russia is trying to deepen economic and military ties with nations willing to ignore US-led sanctions, Moscow and Pyongyang are working to also make Russian carriers a regular presence at North Korea's international airport.
The Kommersant business daily reports Monday that Russia has been issued an invitation to begin launching regular flights to North Korea, after Putin and Kim Jong Un held a summit in Russia's far east in September.
Russia’s state civil aviation agency Rosaviatsia said it notified airlines Aeroflot and Aurora that they should evaluate readiness for routine flights to Pyongyang.
Any and all flights had been on hold for years during the pandemic, and only resumed in August of this year. Currently an Air Koryo flighting travels between Vladivostok and Pyongyang twice a week.
Russia's Aurora had this to say on the potential for flights linking Moscow and North Korea:
“In the new foreign policy realities, Russia is forming new partnerships, the construction and development of which without direct flights from Moscow is not very comfortable,” Oleg Panteleyev, head of the AviaPort aviation think tank, told Kommersant. “The main interest in such flights, from business and political circles, is in Moscow.”
It's long been clear that Russia and North Korea are seeking to take their cooperation beyond just on the military front - which has included alleged major weapons and artillery shell transfers for Russia to execute its war in Ukraine
For the first time last month Russia's foreign ministry publicly encouraged tourism in the DPRK:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he would recommend Russian tourists to vacation in North Korea.
The top Russian diplomat visited North Korea, where he held a meeting with his North Korean counterpart Choe Son Hui and then spoke to reporters.
Over the past year it seems the trend has been the more Washington sanctions Russia, the more it turns to other so-called 'pariah' nations like North Korea and Iran. Very similar to improved defense and economic ties with Pyongyang, Moscow's relations with Tehran have deepened as well.
All of this has of course been denounced by the Biden administration, and yet it has very little leverage left when it comes to all three nations. It should be noted that all three have had their aviation industries under significant sanctions, making commercial flights more dangerous as safety slowly erodes for lack of easily available replacement parts.