April 13, 2024
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In a historic move, Asiana Airlines Inc., one of South Korea’s major airlines, has taken a bold step to enhance passenger safety. The airline announced that it will cease selling tickets for seats located near emergency exit doors on its ‘A321-200’ aircraft. This decision comes in response to a recent incident where a passenger opened the emergency exit door while the plane was in flight.

According to Asiana Airlines, the incident occurred during the landing phase of a flight departing from Jeju Island, South Korea on May 26. In light of this alarming event, the airline decided not to issue tickets for seats adjacent to emergency exit doors, even if the aircraft reaches full capacity.

Following Asiana Airlines’ lead, other carriers such as AirSeoul Inc. and AirPremia Co. are reportedly considering suspending the sale of seats near emergency exits. This precautionary measure is aimed at preventing similar incidents from happening in the future.

However, an anonymous airline official expressed reservations about the decision, suggesting that Asiana Airlines may have overreacted. The official argued that passengers seated near emergency exits play a crucial role in assisting others during emergencies and that the airline’s response may be disproportionate to the incident.

The Ministry of Transport of South Korea clarified that the decision to implement such measures rests with individual airline companies and is not based on aviation regulatory guidelines.

As for the passenger who opened the emergency exit door, he now faces serious legal consequences. The individual, whose identity remains undisclosed, violated aviation security laws and was subsequently detained by the police. If found guilty, the suspect, a 33-year-old male, could potentially face up to 10 years of imprisonment.

During questioning, the passenger offered a defense claiming that he opened the door due to a lack of air. He stated that he was attempting to exit the plane quickly, citing recent stress from unemployment as a contributing factor. However, eyewitnesses reported that the act of opening the door occurred while the plane was descending for landing at Daegu International Airport. The incident caused panic among the passengers, resulting in minor injuries to 12 individuals out of the 194 onboard.

Asiana Airlines’ decision to cease selling tickets for seats near emergency exits marks a significant step towards bolstering aviation safety. It serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to security protocols and the responsibility of passengers to maintain a safe and secure environment during flights.

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