South Korea orders inspection of Asiana A320 pilots after plane skids off runway

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korean authorities said on Wednesday they planned an "urgent competence inspection" of Asiana Airlines pilots flying Airbus A320 planes, the day after one of the planes skidded off a runway in Japan.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the measures would affect 489 pilots, 370 of them with Asiana and the remainder with its low-cost subsidiary, Air Busan. The two airlines are the only operators of the A320 based in South Korea.

The Transport Ministry also said that it had ordered eight South Korean airlines to ensure close safety management.

The Asiana flight hit a 6-metre tall transmission device ahead of the runway as it landed on Tuesday night in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Yonhap reported. The plane skidded off the runway.

Asiana said 18 of the 73 passengers had suffered minor injuries.

Nearly two years ago, an Asiana Boeing 777 crashed at San Francisco's main airport when its tail struck a sea wall short of the runway, killing three people and injuring more than 180. The US National Transportation Safety Board cited"mismanagement" by pilots as the probable cause.