South Korea's Asiana Airlines appeals 45-day flight ban penalty for deadly crash

A Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines sits on the runway after it crashed landed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 6, 2013. South Korea's Asiana Airlines on Monday, Nov 17, appealed against a government decision to suspend
A Boeing 777 operated by Asiana Airlines sits on the runway after it crashed landed at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 6, 2013. South Korea's Asiana Airlines on Monday, Nov 17, appealed against a government decision to suspend its lucrative service to San Francisco for 45 days as a penalty for a deadly plane crash there last year. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's Asiana Airlines on Monday appealed against a government decision to suspend its lucrative service to San Francisco for 45 days as a penalty for a deadly plane crash there last year.

The Transport Ministry last week ordered the suspension of the once-a-day service between Incheon and San Francisco.

In its appeal, the airline called for the dismissal of the seven-member disciplinary panel that decided the suspension, claiming the semi-official body was "biased" against Asiana in favour of its competitor Korean Air.

Unless the demand is met, Asiana will immediately seek a court injunction against the punitive measure, it said in a statement. "Suspension on services ... would cause inconvenience to passengers and ... project a negative image" of the company, the statement said.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed at San Francisco International Airport in July last year after clipping a sea wall with its landing gear.

Three passengers were killed and more than 180 injured.

The United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in June that a mismanaged approach for landing in a highly automated cockpit was the probable cause.

Investigators said Captain Lee Kang Kuk, a seasoned Airbus A320 pilot who was transitioning to the bigger Boeing 777, cut the autopilot on final approach into San Francisco, where the instrument landing system was out of service.

Doing so put the auto-throttle on hold, meaning it would no longer automatically control airspeed, according to investigator-in-chief Bill English.

When the jet dipped below the correct glide path, Capt Lee reacted by pulling the nose up. But the auto-throttle, still on hold, failed to deliver an expected burst of engine power that would have enabled the airliner to make the runway.