Financial News

  • 26 February 2014, 14:22

Asiana Airlines Fined Over San Francisco Crash

The airline involved in last year's San Francisco crash has been ordered to pay $500,000 (£300,000) for failing to assist family members of passengers.

The US Department of Transportation issued the penalty - a first of its kind - saying Asiana Airlines failed to notify family members soon enough after the crash.

The agency said the South Korean carrier lacked translators and personnel trained in crash response.

Three people died and dozens were injured on July 6 when Asiana Flight 214 clipped a seawall while landing.

An investigation by the Department of Transportation concluded that some family members had not been contacted two days after the crash, and it took five days to reach the families of all 291 passengers.

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier."

Many of the families live in South Korea or China, meaning the airline was their main source of information on the crash thousands of miles away.

Federal investigators said Asiana did not actively encourage contact from families, failing to widely publicise a toll-free help line until the day after the crash.

When family members did call, they were initially put through to a reservations line rather than a crisis hotline.

Asiana spokeswoman Hyomin Lee said: "Asiana provided extensive support to the passengers and their families following the accident and will continue to do so."

Asiana will pay $400,000 and receive a $100,000 credit sponsoring multiple industry-wide conferences and training sessions over three years, according to a consent order the airline signed with the department.

In the late 1990s, after airlines were criticised for ignoring desperate requests for information after crashes, Congress required carriers to dedicate significant attention to families of passengers.

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