Asiana admitted to flying 'uncertified' aircraft
By Kim Bo-eun
Asiana Airlines said Wednesday it has reported to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs that it flew an uncertified aircraft on international routes.
The A321 passenger plane which had not been certified by the Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) went between Gimhae and Saipan from Jan. 11 to 21.
ETOPS is an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rule. It refers to an aircraft having received certification for flight time with only one working engine of the two. According to international airlines’ regulations, aircraft that have not been ETOPS certified cannot fly to destinations more than 60 minutes from the airport it takes off from.
Most airlines receive ETOPS certification for international flights that cross the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.
Without certification, the aircraft has to travel in a zigzag route instead of a straight one, which increases flight time and fuel consumption. A greater problem would be the possibility of a serious accident, if a problem were to occur in the engine while crossing seas.
However, Asiana used the uncertified plane eight times in January.
It reported the fact to the ministry soon after the discovery was made. The ministry will hold two committee meetings to decide whether to take administrative measures against the airline. The meetings will be attended by individuals from the public and private sector.
“We will see to it that the airline receives adequate punishment for the failure to notice this important detail and allowed eight flights,” said a ministry official.
“It was not intentional, and we reported it to the ministry as soon as we found out,” said Asiana Airlines. “We have established a monitoring system to ensure conforming to ETOPS operating standards in order to prevent a repeat occurrence.”