Updated on October 28, 2019.
South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines will temporarily suspend its Seoul-San Francisco service from March 1 to April 14, 2020 (previously the airline announced that the suspension period would be from March 3 to April 16, 2020).
South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld its decision to suspend the airline’s daily Seoul-San Francisco flight for 45 days as a penalty for its fatal plane crash in San Francisco in 2013, reports Reuters.
On July 6, 2013, Asiana flight (OZ214) flying from Incheon International Airport to San Francisco International Airport crashed on final approach at San Francisco Airport. Among the 291 passengers and 16 crew members on board, three died and 181 were injured.
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew’s mismanagement of the airplane’s descent. The complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems that were inadequately described in Boeing’s documentation were also cited as one of the contributing factors to the accident.
The daily outbound flight (OZ212) for San Francisco departs from Seoul’s Incheon Airport at 2040, before landing at San Francisco International Airport at 1400; while the return leg (OZ211) leaves San Francisco at 2330, and arrives in Seoul at 0530 two days later.
The airline is now using a 311-seater A350-900 aircraft to fly this route, which features 28 business class seats arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration.
According to Reuters, South Korea’s transport ministry plans to request other airlines to use bigger aircraft for their San Francisco routes during the suspension of Asiana flights.
South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air also flies twice daily between Incheon and San Francisco using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, while Asiana’s codeshare partner, United Airlines, in additional to a daily flight operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, has added a second flight since April 1 this year using a Boeing 777-200ER.
The airline says passengers who have already purchased tickets for travel during this period via the airline’s website, mobile app or reservation centre can contact the airline directly for changes or refund, while those who have bought their tickets from online or offline travel agencies can also ask for changes or refunds from them.
In addition to San Francisco, Asiana also flies to five other US destinations, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago (O’Hare), New York (JFK) and Honolulu.
The South Korean carrier will offer a second flight on its existing Seoul-New York route from November 24, but will axe its Chicago flights from October 27 in an attempt to alleviate mounting financial woes.