SEJONG, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s two budget carriers have been slapped with 600 million won (US$524,000) in fines each for breaching flight safety regulations, the transportation ministry said Friday.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport imposed the highest financial penalty on Jeju Air Co., owned by the mid-sized retailer Aekyung Group, and Jin Air Co., a low budget airline unit of No. 1 Korean Air Lines Co.
A Jeju Air plane had to drop to an altitude of 8,000 ft from 18,000 ft with about 150 passengers aboard on its way to Jeju Island from Seoul on Dec. 23 last year due to the pilots’ failure to turn on its air pressure regulator.
A week later, a Jin Air flight carrying some 160 passengers to Busan was forced to make an emergency return to an airport in the Philippines shortly after taking off after one of its doors was found to be improperly closed.
The ministry suspended both Jeju Air pilots who were in charge of the Dec. 23 flight for 30 days, while the Jin Air pilot and co-pilot were suspended for 30 days and 15 days, respectively.
The ministry also fined three local air carriers, including Asiana Airlines Inc., up to 300 million won for failing to remove landing gear lock pins before flight.
Aircraft engineers must withdraw the airplane’s landing gear pins, which help lock the gear in place while the plane is on the ground, before takeoff, with the pilot also required to double check their removal.’