Korean Air to inspect Airbus A330s after runway excursion, engine incidents

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Korean Air is taking dozens of Airbus A330 aircraft out of service for inspections after two incidents involving the type, including a runway excursion.  

Flight KE631, carrying 162 passengers and 11 crew from Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN), departed the runway at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB) in the Philippines in bad weather after landing on October 23, 2022. The aircraft was on its third landing attempt after having twice performed a go-around.  

One week later, on October 30, another Korean Air A330, performing flight KE401 from ICN to Sydney in Australia, returned to ICN after engine trouble just after take off. The crew shut down the engine, which reportedly experienced bangs and sparks, and landed 35 minutes after departure.  

The South Korean flag carrier announced the inspections on November 2, 2022, according to the Yonhap news agency.  

“Korean Air is aware of the gravity of the recent events involving our A330 aircraft,” Korean Air President Woo Kee-hong was quoted as saying during a meeting with the transport minister and other airline executives on aviation safety.  

“To address concerns and secure a safe operation system, we will carry out a full-scale, comprehensive safety inspection of our A330 fleet and seek an independent, external safety consultation.” 

The airline will therefore take 24 widebody A330s out of service in phases for in-depth inspections. Korean Air also said it will retire six older Airbus A330s from its fleet.  

Yonhap further reported that the Transport Minister, Won Hee-ryong, urged the air carriers at the meeting to implement special measures to prevent similar accidents. 

“Airlines must review everything from the ‘zero-base’ and start over with an attitude for an overhaul,” Won said. 

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