Low-cost South Korean airlines are facing massive fines following charges of cabin crew drinking during operations and not following safety procedures during flight.
South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said Wednesday Air Seoul, Jeju Air, and T'way Air face a total of nearly $680,000 in fines for breaking the law, Yonhap reported.
Air Seoul's cabin crew were reportedly "intoxicated" during a flight on July 29, according to local news service Newsis. It is unclear how many flight attendants were fined, but the penalty is $176,000.
Jeju Air, a budget airline that operates domestic and nearby international routes, was fined about $500,000 for multiple offenses that took place on Feb. 28.
During the flight between Incheon, South Korea, and Qingdao, China, pilots did not abide by safety procedures when the brake system did not function properly during takeoff and landing, the ministry said.
The first and second pilots of the Jeju Air flight have been penalized with "30 days of disqualification," according to reports.
Jeju Air flights that took place on July 20 and Aug. 4 are also being cited for violations, including "misuse of pilot equipment" and landing aircraft without controller's permission, respectively.
T'way Air, a low-cost airline formerly known as Hansung Airlines, is being penalized for entering the runway at Gwangju Airport without the controller's permission on Aug. 3. The first and second pilots of the flight have been suspended for 15 days.
A South Korean ministry official told Yonhap the aviation industry is facing "business difficulties" but negligence in safety management will not be tolerated.
South Korea has one of the fastest-growing aviation industries in Asia. According to the data intelligence firm Center for Aviation, passenger traffic in Korea has more than doubled in the past decade, from 52.3 million in 2008 to 117.5 million in 2018.
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