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Asiana mishandled midair door-opening, ministry rules

Sept. 27, 2023 - 15:01 By Shim Woo-hyun
This photo, provided by a third party, shows an airplane's door open before landing on Daegu Airport Friday. (Yonhap)

Asiana Airlines’ initial response to a recent midair door-opening incident was "inappropriate" and will be fined for it, the South Korean government's investigation showed, Rep. Park Sang-hyuk of the main opposition Korea Democratic Party said Wednesday.

According to a report Park received from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the ministry has imposed a fine on Asiana Airlines and recommended country’s second largest air carrier take corrective actions to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Earlier in May, a passenger opened the emergency door of an Asiana Airlines plane right before landing at Daegu International Airport. None of the 194 passengers were hurt.

The report said Asiana Airlines violated its own cabin crew manual, which states that passenger activities must be monitored for safe operations.

According to the ministry’s investigation, the crew, who was 3 meters away from the door, was not aware of the suspect’s doing and took the incident as a door malfunction.

The ministry, however, saw that the negligence was not intentional given that the incident took place in a very short period of time.

The ministry pointed out that Asiana Airlines also failed to locate and apprehend the suspect. The report noted Asiana Airlines did not make any efforts to report the incident to its Daegu branch or to detain the suspect, creating a situation where the suspect could have escaped.

After landing, the suspect stayed outside of the airport for around 10 minutes. He was handed over to police only after confessing to an Asiana Airlines employee.

The ministry also found the Asiana Airlines in violation of the aviation law by failing to immediately report the incident to the local airport and the government and slapped them with a fine for the breach.

According to the Aviation Security Act and the country’s aviation safety plan, air carriers must report, to the ministry and the local airport if there is an act of unlawful interference that can jeopardize the safety of civil aviation and air transport. Those who violate it can be fined up to 10 million won ($7,409).

In addition to the penalty, the ministry requested Asiana Airlines to come up with measures and improve its training courses to prevent recurrence of a similar incident.