Asiana fails to block flight suspension to San Francisco

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Asiana fails to block flight suspension to San Francisco

Asiana Airlines has lost its bid to quash a 45-day suspension on all its flights to San Francisco.

Asiana currently runs daily flights from Incheon International Airport to the U.S. city and losses from the ban are expected to be in the region of 10 billion won ($8.1 million).

Seoul Administrative Court on Friday upheld Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s 45-day flight suspension order to Asiana Airlines.

The suspension was ordered after a July 6, 2013, accident when one of the company’s aircraft, carrying 291 passengers, struck a seawall as pilots attempted to land in San Francisco. The incident resulted in three deaths.

“The crash was caused by the flight crews’ mistakes, and Asiana failed to follow its duty to overlook everything related to safety,” said the court on Friday.

The airline sued the minister of transport and others in a bid to revoke the suspension order, but the court sided with the ministry. If the airline decides to appeal the case, it can postpone the suspension order until the appellate court’s final decision.

The impact of the 2013 accident tore off part of the tail and sent the jet skidding down the runway before it came to rest and caught fire.

Passengers spilled out of the plane onto the airport grounds. About 182 passengers were treated in hospital, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“The flight crew over-relied on automated systems they did not fully understand,” said the NTSB in a report after its investigation on the accident in June of 2014. “As a result, they flew the aircraft too low and too slow and collided with the seawall at the end of the runway.”

After the final report, the ministry of transport ordered 45-day suspension in Nov. 2014.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also fined the airline $500,000 saying it violated U.S. law by not promptly helping victims and family members after the crash. The carrier did not contact family members of several passengers until five days after the crash, the department said.

Under Korea’s aviation law, if a plane crash causes damage worth more than 10 billion won ($810,044), the government can suspend a carrier from operating the route for up to 90 days.

Asiana’s accident applies to the 90-day suspension, but the ministry lowered it to 45 days after considering various factors. Some industry insiders say the ministry reduced the suspension because the flight crew did their best to evacuate people.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]



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