Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Global Impact: South Korea-Based Airline Fined $500,000 by DOT for Failing to Effectively Support Passengers, Families

According to NBC News, the US Department of Transportation has fined South Korea-based Asiana Airlines $500,000 for violating federal law in failing to effectively support passengers and their families after the crash of Flight 214 in San Francisco last July [2013].
DOT said it was the first time a fine has been issued under the statute which requires foreign airlines to adhere to a “family assistance plan.” That plan includes publicizing and staffing a toll-free number to take calls from families of passengers and to notify as soon of the identity of passengers once verified.
COMMENT: The Asiana flight hit a seawall in front of the runway during its final approach at San Francisco International Airport then slammed into the ground before cartwheeling and coming to a smoky stop.
The impact tore open the aft section of the aircraft, tossing out three flight attendants and their seats and scattered pieces of the Boeing 777 across the runway.
The July 6, 2013 crash killed three Chinese teens and injured more than 200 others out of 307 people aboard.
One of those Chinese teens, Ye Meng Yuan, 16, survived the crash but was killed by an emergency vehicle during the rescue, an autopsy revealed. Her parents have filed a claim against the City of San Francisco.
According to the DOT, Asiana failed to widely publicize any telephone number for family members to learn about the crash, with only the airline’s toll-free reservations line generally available.
Callers then had to navigate through “cumbersome automated menus” before speaking to an airline employee.
Asiana Airlines has not commented on the fine, and a representative of the company was not immediately available to NBC News.
The doors on Asiana Flight 214 weren't opened until about 90 seconds after the plane had come to a full stop, Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said at a news conference. 

Three of the flight attendants were ejected from the aircraft while still in their seats, one of them suffering massive head injuries and another a broken leg.