Asiana flights suspended at SFO as punishment for crash

Lilian Kim Image
ByLilian Kim KGO logo
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Asiana's 45 day ban at SFO
South Korea has imposed a 45 day suspension of Asiana Airlines at SFO.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- South Korean officials say they will ban Asiana Airlines from flying to San Francisco for 45 days as punishment for a deadly crash in July last year. Three people died and 180 passengers were injured.

It's been 16 months since Asiana Flight 214 struck the seawall while trying to land at SFO. The airline has had no incidents since and has made some safety changes.

Asiana says it sells 170,000 tickets a year for its flights between Seoul and San Francisco, so a 45 day suspension would have a major impact.

Passengers checking in at the Asiana Airlines counter at SFO seem to really like the Korean based carrier. They say the airline goes out of its way for travelers.

"It's one of the best we've ever flown as far as service and being able to take care of us and stuff," said passenger Dan Borchers.

But Asiana is now facing a 45 day suspension, which means that during that time it will be banned from flying into and out of SFO.

Henry Harteveldt is a travel industry analyst. He says Asiana is one of only four airlines that have a daily non-stop flight from SFO to Seoul. While the others have been asked to pick up some of the slack, they can only cover so much.

"It means of course they would have to take airplanes and divert them from other routes to the route between San Francisco and Seoul, or put larger planes on them if they have them, but you won't have the same degree of fare competition," said Harteveldt.

Which means possibly fewer choices and higher prices. Despite that prospect, some passengers say a 45-day suspension seems fair.

"Why not because anyway they make some accident so yeah, 45 days is I think reasonable," said passenger Il Gyo Koo.

"In this case it seemed like there really was some neglect going on and so there's got to be something to prevent that," said passenger Joel Kuenzel.

Asiana is appealing and suggesting a fine may be more appropriate. A decision is expected within a month.