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South Korea Clamping Down On Budget Airlines' Safety Protocols, Faces Possible Closures If They Don't Improve

By January 29, 2016 at 5:53 am
South Korea Clamping Down On Budget Airlines' Safety Protocols, Faces Possible Closures If They Don't Improve (Photo : Handout | Getty Images News)

South Korea is cracking down on budget airlines due to their lax safety protocols, according to a report from The Star Online.

The country is warning the budget airlines that they could face a possible closure if they don't mend their ways.

South Korea's transport ministry conducted a safety review of the country's six budget carriers this month following an incident with Jin Air, a budget carrier operated by Korean Air.

Jin Air's Boeing 737-800 was forced to make an emergency return after a door is discovered to be unsealed.

Last month, another budget passenger carrier belonging to Jeju Air experienced an incident.

Jeju Air's plane plunged 3,000 meters, or 10,000 feet, due to problems with its onboard air compression system.

Business Standard reports that South Korea's six budget carriers accounted for 59 percent of domestic market share last year.

The flights are mostly centered on the route between Seoul and the southern resort island of Jeju.

Following their review, the South Korean transport ministry concluded on Thursday that the low-cost carriers were making an "inadequate" investment in safety.

This is a problem given that budget carriers have experienced exponential growth in traffic over the past decade.

South Korea's transport ministry said in a statement that budget carriers are in danger of losing their licenses if they don't improve their safety protocols.

"Airlines which fail to ensure passenger safety ... will face closure through cancelation of business licenses," the ministry said.

The ministry also said that pilots and ground crew involved in the cases of Jin Air and Jeju Air will be punished if they appear to have ignored basic procedures.

The punishment for those involved to have found to ignore safety procedures would be a 30-day suspension.

The South Korean government is also planning to suspend the operations of the two airlines for seven days or fine them 600 million won, or $496,000.

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