(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) North Korea has signed an air service deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an apparent attempt to provide cheaper transportation means for its overseas workers, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday, citing a source.
The UAE's national aviation authority and its North Korean counterpart signed a provisional air service agreement on October 15, an airline company official based in Dubai told Yonhap.
The deal must be ratified to enter into force, the report said. Saif Al-Suwaidi, the director general of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed the signing over the phone, but declined to comment further, according to the report.
Although the agreement does not limit the number of flights, it is unlikely that major airlines of the two countries will operate regular flights as soon as the deal goes into effect, considering that few North Koreans are allowed to travel outside their communist homeland, it said. North Korea has concluded aviation agreements with 30 nations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa since the 1970s.
The official said the North may have signed the deal aiming for providing cheaper transportation means for its overseas workers in Middle East by signing the deal with the UAE, the transportation and business hub in the Middle East.
Tens of thousands of North Korean are believed to be working overseas under tight monitoring by North Korean officials, in a bid to earn much needed hard currency for the state that has been heavily sanctioned for its nuclear program.