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In South Korea, Boeing’s Automated Controls Take Another Hit

In South Korea, Boeing’s Automated Controls Take Another Hit
Taylor Rains

Six years after Asiana Airlines crashed into a seawall during landing at San Francisco International Airport, the South Korean Supreme Court has ordered a halt to the airline’s SFO-ICN operation, effective March 3rd and lasting through April 16th.

The court order is a response to the July 2013 air crash at SFO in which three people were killed, and 180 others were injured. The NTSB’s investigation concluded pilot error as the root cause of the accident. The NTSB stated, “the crew over-relied on automated systems that they did not fully understand. In their efforts to compensate for the unreliability of human performance, the designers of automated control systems have been unwittingly created opportunities for new error types that can be even more serious than those they were seeking to avoid.” The suspension of the route is pure punishment for the accident, citing the airline failed to produce sufficient pilot training on the Boeing 777-200ER.

The ruling has been a lengthy legal process, with the first attempt at suspension coming in 2014 when Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport ordered a 90-day suspension. That order was reduced to 45 days after Asiana agreed to compensate victims of the crash. However, in January 2015, Asiana won an injunction and was allowed to continue operations. The 2019 ruling upheld the original 45-day decision, and Asiana worked with the transport ministry in deciding the suspension dates.

The airline will take about a $9.3 million hit for this suspension, but competitors may fill the gaps. Both Korean Airlines and United Airlines operate the route daily. Simple Flying suspects a few things could happen in Asiana’s absence: fares may increase due to decreased seat availability, or the competing airlines may operate aircraft with higher seat capacity, such as the 777 for United or the 747-800 for Korean.

Asiana will continue routes after April 16th using the A350-900XWB. According to Routes Online, the flights will be:

  • OZ211: San Francisco to Seoul Incheon, departing SFO at 23:30 and arriving ICN at 04:30 two days later.
  • OZ212: Seoul Incheon to San Francisco, departing ICN at 20:40 and arriving SFO at 15:00.

Asiana has already settled a case with San Francisco after the accident, agreeing to pay the airport $3.5 million in repairs and cover the city’s legal costs accrued from the crash.


[Image: Wikimedia Commons/Jeff Gilbert

View Comments (5)


  1. tryathlete

    October 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    BS. They had auto throttle off and nobody managed the power.

  2. pmiranda

    October 23, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Who are they penalizing? The passengers that want to flight that route?

  3. CEB

    October 23, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Another totally irresponsible bait click title from Ms. Rains. Please remove her from all future FlyerTalk postings.

  4. Lakeviewsteve

    October 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    pmiranda…. Are you just kidding or are you that stupid? Their net profits going to shareholders take the hit.

  5. Etheereal

    October 31, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Tryathlete thats why the article seems to be wrong. There was no automation on the throttles as they were kept on idle. Thats shown even on the FDR. They thought they were flying an airbus and that was a big mistake.

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