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Boeing Business Jet stars in Clinton’s North Korea mission

A star-studded welcome reception for two US journalists held in North Korea since March capped a six-day marathon by Boeing Business Jet operator Avjet, which shuttled the key players back and forth across the Pacific Ocean.

The epic started on 31 July when Shangri-La Entertainment chief executive Stephen Bing 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. The two work for former vice-president Al Gore's Current TV.

Avjet then had to receive a US Federal Aviation Administration exemption and letter of authorisation to fly to North Korea and plan a route in co-ordination with the US Department of State, Federal Aviation Administration and the US Air Force.

The 14h outbound flight plan called for departure from Avjet's Burbank, California home base to Elmendorf AFB in Alaska and on to Misawa AFB in Japan before a final leg to Sunan airport in Pyongyang.

The BBJ then spent 20h in Pyongyang with a secret service agent and the two pilots - who could sleep on board - remaining with the aircraft.

The 2h flight back to Misawa was followed by 2h on the ground and a 9h 50min non-stop leg back to Burbank, for a total flight time of nearly 26h.

At Burbank's Bob Hope airport, the BBJ taxied to its home base at Hangar 25, where the journalists were reunited with their families in the company of Gore and Clinton.

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