Most probably remember the Asiana Airlines 777-200 that crash landed at San Francisco International Airport in July 2013.
The accident, which was primarily determined to be pilot error, caused three fatalities and nearly 200 injuries. As a result of this the airline is being punished — that’s because the airline didn’t provide proper education or training to their pilots.
Today Korea’s top court upheld a ruling that requires Asiana to suspend flights to San Francisco for a 45-day period within six months, as punishment for the accident.
Asiana Airlines says that the suspension will likely cost them about 11 billion won, which is about 9.3 million USD. The airline says that they will obey with the court order, but that they will consult with the transport ministry to select the period that would have the least impact on passengers.
As the airline said in a statement:
“We respect the court ruling. To minimize the inconvenience to our customers, we will consult with relevant organizations.”
You might be wondering why it has taken over six years for this punishment to finally happen. That’s because this has been quite a legal process:
- In November 2014 Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport ordered the airline to suspend the route for 90 days, but they later reduced that punishment by half, on account of the airline agreeing to compensate victims
- Asiana won an injunction in January 2015, allowing them to continue operations until a further ruling
- Subsequent court rulings all agreed with the initial decision, but the timeline for this being implemented kept getting pushed back
At this point it seems like this is a sure thing, as the airline has tried to appeal the decision up until this point.
It will be interesting to see when Asiana Airlines actually suspends the San Francisco route. It appears that they have between now and next April to suspend SFO operations, so I’d guess that they’d likely suspend the route towards the end of that period, since chances are that fewest people are booked further out.
This sure is a unique way to punish an airline that’s determined to be at fault for an accident. Ultimately passengers are losing out as a result of this as well. You’d think it would just make more sense to fine the airline the equivalent of what a 45-day suspension would cost, but clearly that’s not how things are being done…
(Tip of the hat to Szymon)