KAL queried over 3 disrupted flights in Feb.

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KAL queried over 3 disrupted flights in Feb.

The servicing of aircraft by the nation’s largest airline, Korean Air, is being questioned due to a series of incidents last month.

On Monday, a Korean Air flight that departed from Incheon International Airport at 7:30 p.m. for Fiji was forced to fly back to Incheon roughly three hours after take-off as a warning light signified a problem with the aircraft’s hydraulics.

Hydraulic systems are used on aircraft to move landing gear, flaps and brakes.

The plane carrying 115 passengers turned back over Guam at about 10:20 p.m. and landed at Incheon at 4:04 a.m. the next day. Passengers took a different aircraft about two hours later. They were delayed over 10 and a half hours.

Earlier on Monday, a Korean Air flight bound for Incheon from Singapore was forced to land in Manila about two hours and 40 minutes after take-off. A burning smell was detected in the cabin.

According to Korean Air, the smell was due to the overheating of an entertainment-on-demand system in one of the passenger seats.

The carrier was able to resume its flight after power was cut to the problematic unit.

The 285 passengers on board arrived at Incheon at 10:36 a.m., about five hours late than scheduled.

On Feb. 20, a Korean Air flight bound for Bangkok from Incheon developed landing gear problems on the runway before takeoff. The plane turned back to the boarding gate for inspection.

The flight was already late by 30 minutes. Then the 385 passengers had to wait nearly seven hours at the airport until Korean Air found another aircraft.

Industry analysts questioned the airline’s maintenance procedures. Korean Air said no critical aircraft defects were spotted in the incidents.

“Flying back means we are responding to possible problems for the safety of customers,” a spokesperson from Korean Air said.

“Recent incidents could seem worrying because they all happened during one month. But we have the tightest maintenance system in Korea and safety is our utmost priority.”


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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