Asiana Airlines on 22 August requested that the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation each determine that Asiana Airlines should not be penalized for the FAA`s recent decision on Korea pursuant to the agency`s International Aviation Safety Assessment (“IASA”) Program. Under the FAA`s IASA policy, Korean carriers are prevented from expanding or changing their services in the United States until the FAA restores Korea to Category 1 status. Asiana seeks a waiver from this Policy, so that Asiana may be permitted to expand or change operations to the United States while the Korean Government works with the FAA to restore its Category 1 status.
Asiana`s request to the FAA, contained in a letter from Patton Boggs LLP to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey, points out that the FAA`s IASA Program decision is based on governmental safety standards and not the safety of individual foreign carriers. The letter to the FAA states that Asiana`s safety record, the safety commitment of its managers and employees, and its unblemished code-share arrangement with American Airlines all demonstrate that a waiver from the FAA`s general policy is clearly warranted. Asiana has operated over 500,000 flights in the past five and a half years without a single accident. This record of safety is reflected in Asiana`s low hull insurance rating, which is more favorable than the rating of many U.S. carriers, and far better than the average rating of the world`s top 50 scheduled passenger carriers.
Because of its firm commitment to safety and its excellent safety record, Asiana believes it should not suffer any adverse consequences as a result of the FAA`s decision on Korea. Asiana is concerned that unless the FAA`s grants the waiver or otherwise provides a public explanation that the safety of Asiana`s operations is not in question, the FAA`s decision on Korea could unfairly damage Asiana`s business reputation with the U.S. traveling public.
Under DOT`s Code-Share Safety Program Guidelines, the impact of the FAA`s decision on Korea on the code-sharing arrangement between Asiana and American Airlines is decided on a “case-by-case basis.” Accordingly, Asiana also filed a petition on 22 August with Paul Gretch, Director of DOT`s Office of International Aviation, urging DOT to decide that the FAA`s decision has no impact on the Asiana-American code-share.
The letters also note that Asiana operations were reviewed by American Airlines per the Codeshare Safety Program Guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation. Under the audit program submitted by American to DOT/FAA, Asiana operations for U.S. codeshare service meet all applicable ICAO standards.
Asiana senior executives plan to meet with FAA and DOT officials soon to discuss these requests.