Don’t Penalize Asiana for San Francisco Crash, IATA Say
Asiana Airlines Inc. (020560) shouldn’t be sanctioned over a crash in San Francisco that killed three people last year, International Air Transport Association said.
Asiana Airlines Inc. (020560) shouldn’t be sanctioned over a crash in San Francisco that killed three people last year, given the prospect of punishment would reduce any incentive for operators to share safety information, the International Air Transport Association said.
An airline already suffers significant financial loss from life and equipment, legal liability and damage to image when an accident occurs, Tony Tyler, head of the Montreal-based IATA, said in a letter to South Korea’s transport minister. “The imposition of further penalties by the state as an attempt to demonstrate oversight is disproportionate and unreasonable,” he said.
Asiana has strengthened pilot training, appointed a new chief executive officer and hired an official to oversee safety after its Flight 214 struck a seawall short of the San Francisco airport on July 6 last year, causing the fatalities and seriously injuring 49 people. Pilot errors, insufficient training and confusion about the plane’s automated controls contributed to the crash, U.S. investigators concluded in June.
“Ensuring proper investigation and administration of fair and effective corrective action is the best means to prevent the repetition of such events,” Tyler said in the letter sent to the minister last week, a copy of which was given to Bloomberg News today.
South Korea plans to decide on penalties to impose on Seoul-based Asiana after reviewing results of investigations, the transport ministry said in June. It hasn’t announced a date for the decision.
The government has stepped up regulations to improve airline safety standards, including steeper penalties for accidents involving casualties. It ordered Asiana to halt services to Saipan for a week this month for not following regulations, the carrier said.
“In order to improve safety performance further, we must learn from the few accidents that occur,” Tyler said in the letter. “Absent deliberate, flagrant violation or sabotage, an aircraft accident should not be criminalized because criminalization of aviation accident investigations serves no useful purpose.”
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