16 Jun 2014

Asiana Airlines flights to Saipan suspended after violation

4:07 pm on 16 June 2014

Asiana Airlines has been slapped with a seven-day suspension of its flights between South Korea and the Northern Marianas, over a violation of safety rules in April.

South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport says it decided to ban Asiana Airlines after the carrier continued with a passenger jet flight from Incheon to Saipan on April the 19th, despite discovering signs of engine trouble after takeoff.

A warning light came on, signalling a problem in one of the plane's two engines.

The problem concerned a blockage in one of the engine oil filters in the twin-engine Boeing 767 jet carrying 253 passengers.

Under the rules, Asiana Airlines should have immediately landed at the nearest airport but they flew all the way to Saipan, putting hundreds of passengers at risk.

The aircraft landed safely on Saipan after a four-hour flight.

The Governor of the Northern Marianas, Eloy Inos, says the suspension will be a "major setback" for the CNMI's tourism industry.