by STEVE HAN
South Korea’s Asiana Airlines will suspend its services to San Francisco for 45 days over a jet crash that killed three people in the U.S. city last year, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The review committee banned Asiana from operating its Incheon-San Francisco route for 45 days, which begins from a date of the airline’s own choosing, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced. Asiana, which previously said a 90-day suspension would cause a loss of $18.9 million in sales, has 15 days to appeal the decision.
In a statement released in response to the ban, Asiana said it will definitely appeal the decision, arguing that over 170,000 passengers use its Incheon-San Francisco route annually and that suspending it for 45 days will create problems for travelers. It also emphasized that last year’s crash was not caused by the airline’s violation of safety-related rules.
Although Asiana reportedly expected nothing more than a fine from the South Korean government, Kwon Young-bok, head of South Korea’s aviation security department, said that the penalty isn’t as severe as an accident involving casualties could lead to a suspension of up to 90 days.
“The committee decided to reduce the duration by 50 percent, which is the maximum reduction allowed under the law, considering the sincere and dedicated evacuation efforts by the flight’s crew that helped minimize casualties,” Kwon said.
Asiana’s Flight 214, a B777-200ER jet, carrying 307 people, crashed while landing at the San Francisco airport in July 2013. The crash killed three and injured more than 180 people.
Photo courtesy of Reuters