SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s aviation authorities said Wednesday that they will begin inspecting the country’s nine airlines next month to ensure safety after a series of accidents.
The decision came five days after a budget carrier made an emergency return due to defects in the autopilot system.
Aviation inspectors will conduct a comprehensive safety check on the country’s two full-service and seven low-cost carriers until December, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.
On Wednesday, aviation officials held an emergency meeting with executives and engineers from the nine airlines to discuss safety checks.
Last Friday, a B737-800NG jet operated by leading low-cost carrier Jeju Air Co. made an emergency return 10 minutes after a takeoff from a local airport due to problems with the autopilot system.
South Korean airlines have reported a series of accidents such as delayed or suspended takeoffs due to faulty parts and a fire during preparations for takeoff.
The country has two full-service carriers — Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. — and seven low-cost carriers — Jeju Air, Jin Air Co., Air Busan Co., Air Seoul Inc., Eastar Jet, T’way Air Co. and Fly Gangwon.
Separately, the ministry and airlines discussed the visit to South Korea next month by Boeing engineers to help repair nine B737-NG jets with structural cracks.
South Korean aviation inspectors carried out safety checks on 42 out of a total of 150 B737-NG planes operated by local airlines.
Safety checks on the remaining planes are set to be completed in coming months. No specific time frame was given.
The ministry recently found structural cracks in the nine jets and has since grounded them.
Early this month, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered aircraft operators to conduct checks on B737-NG airliners for structural cracks after Boeing discovered cracks on an aircraft undergoing modifications in China and notified the FAA of the issue.