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Low-Cost Airline Explains Blown Tires

Posted October. 31, 2005 03:01,   


Hansung Airlines ignored tire replacement requests-

In the aftermath of a blown-tire incident, a Hansung Airlines (HA) spokesperson stated, “Our airplane’s tires blew out because of the air pressure disparity caused by the melting of a fuseplug, a safety device that prevents a break explosion,” implying that the tires themselves had no problems.

However, an official of HA claimed, “The company ignored the request for the replacement of tires by mechanics who maintained that the wear of the tires was severe when the planes were brought in.

He noted, “On several occasions, the mechanics asked for the replacement of tires after shareholders pointed out that the tires were worn out at a trial ride ceremony before the launch of the airline’s official service, but the company didn’t pay attention.”

He added that although the company promised to have spare parts worth $1.6 million, it now has spare parts worth less than $ 400,000.

In addition, an official from the office of Cheongju International Airport under the Seoul Regional Aviation Administration said, “Our office also recommended to HA on October 26 that the company change the tires as they were in bad shape.”

Regarding the above matter, an official of HA explained, “The company (we) didn’t change the tires only because it was not a time to change and we didn’t directly hear the opinion of replacement from the office of Cheongju International Airport.”

Accident and settlement-

Two left-rear tires of HA Flight 303 (model: ATR72-200) carrying 64 passengers went flat after it arrived at Jeju International Airport at 5:20 p.m. on October 28. No injuries were reported as the incident happened while the plane was moving to a mooring after landing on the runway. However, the transit flight (304) for Cheongju departing at 5:50 p.m. and four round-trip flights scheduled for the next day have all been canceled.

Although HA brought a spare tire from Singapore on the afternoon of October 29 as it had only one spare tire, the replacement of the tires were delayed because Korean Airlines and Asiana Airlines refused to transport the tire at one point.

The two Airlines refused to transport the tire because of the danger of the nitrogen in the tire and because the tire was too big to pass through airport security.

HA resumed its service beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the same day after changing the flat tires on Jeju Island at 11:30 a.m. on October 30.

Starting August 31, HA is currently operating round-trip flights between Cheongju and Jeju twice a day after it bought airplanes from ATR, a subsidiary company of Airbus of France. HA charges 45,000 won for one-way flights on weekdays, 50,000 won for weekend flights, and 60,000 won for high season flights, which are 70 percent of the prices charged by Korean Airlines and Asiana Airlines.

Jang-Ki Woo straw825@donga.com <