Asiana Airlines has lost a lawsuit it filed with the Korean court in 2014 with regard to the Korean government’s suspension of its service on the Seoul-San Francisco route following an Asiana passenger plane’s crash into a breakwater at San Francisco International Airport in 2013.
The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's ruling on Asiana Airlines on Oct. 17 in an appeal filed by Asiana Airlines to cancel the decision by the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
In July 2013, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200 airliner crashed into a breakwater in front of a runway while attempting to land at San Francisco International Airport. There were 307 people on board. The accident left three Chinese passengers dead and more than 100 people injured.
In 2014, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Commission concluded that the accident took place because the pilot did not maintain a proper speed while lowering the airplane’s altitude. Accordingly, in November 2014, the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport decided to impose a 45-day suspension of flights from Incheon to San Francisco on Asiana Airlines.
The Supreme Court’s ruling forces Asiana Airlines to implement the ministry’s decision within the next six months. By doing so, Asiana Airlines is expected to lose 11 billion won in revenue.
Airline industry experts believe that the ruling may affect the sale of Asiana Airlines. In the second quarter of this year, the company posted 124.1 billion won in loss in its consolidated financial statements. Its third quarter earnings forecast is also gloomy due to Korean’s boycott of travel to Japan and the Korean won's appreciation. Some watchers say that the airline may not be sold off within this year. Kumho Industrial and the Korea Development Bank are planning to select a preferred bidder in early November and finalize a contract on Asiana Airlines stock sales within this year.