- August 6, 2009, 12:17 PM
Aircraft management and charter firm Avjet held a crucial role in the air transportation for former President Bill Clinton on his visit to North Korea on Tuesday. Clinton’s mission to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang secured the release of two imprisoned American television journalists. The former president traveled to Pyongang aboard a Boeing Business Jet operated by Avjet and owned by Steve Bing, owner of Shangri-La Entertainment and a long-time friend of Clinton. Bing also paid for the entire trip, Avjet told AIN. Planning for the mission began last Friday, and on the following day Avjet secured an FAA exemption and letter of authorization to conduct the flight to North Korea. In coordination with the U.S. State Department, FAA and U.S. Air Force, the aircraft flew on Monday from Burbank, Calif., to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, to Misawa Air Force Base in Misawa, Japan, and on to Pyongyang Sunan Airport, for a total flight time of 14 hours. After 20 hours in Pyongyang, the BBJ headed back to Burbank yesterday with Clinton’s team, the two released journalists and the six-person Avjet flight crew. “We are honored to have been selected as the global air transportation partner for this historic humanitarian mission,” said Avjet senior vice president Andrew Bradley.