According to Avjet spokesman Andrew Bradley, Stephen Bing, CEO of Shangri La Entertainment, notified the company that he had donated the aircraft, which Avjet manages, to former US President Bill Clinton for the humanitarian mission to seek the release of the journalists from North Korea, where they had been sentenced to 12 years in a labour camp.
Avjet had to receive a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exemption and letter of authorization to conduct the flight to North Korea, which it did on Saturday morning August 1, with the help of the FAA’s Office of Rulemaking in Washington.
Next the company came up with a route, which had to be plotted in coordination with the US Department of State, FAA and the US Air Force. The plan called for departure from Burbank, California, Avjet’s home base, to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to Misawa Air Force Base in Japan and on to Sunan Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea. Total flight time for the outbound trip turned out to be more than 14h, says Bradley.