Asiana Airlines has been fined $500,000 for failing to properly communicate with passengers’ families after a fatal crash at San Francisco International Airport last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced today.
Following the July 6 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the South Korea-based airline failed to adhere to a “family assistance plan” that requires prompt contact with passengers’ relatives, according to the Department of Transportation.
Three people died in the crash and its aftermath and scores more were injured when the plane clipped a seawall while landing at SFO.
The fine was the first ever issued by the department using a federal statute requiring family assistance plans.
It took the airline two days following the disaster to successfully contact the families of three-quarters of the passengers, according to the Department of Transportation. The families of several passengers were not contacted until five days after.
“In the very rare event of a crash, airlines have a responsibility to provide their full support to help passengers and their families by following all the elements of their family assistance plans,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
“The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier,” Foxx said.
The statement further accused Asiana Airlines of failing to establish and publicize an emergency hotline for families, another requirement of the family assistance statute.
Relatives had to use the airline’s website and “cumbersome” toll-free reservations line in order to make eventual contact with a company representative, according to the department.
CONTACT: U.S. Department of Transportation (202) 366-4570
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