The South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) has outlined a set of new safety guidelines requiring all low-cost carriers (LCCs) to employ six sets of pilots and 12 type-certified mechanics for each of the aircraft in its fleet.
Additionally, all Korean LCCs will be required to have one fully operational aircraft available for use as a substitute in the event of mechanical issues prejudicing safety on a scheduled service.
Korean Yonhap news agency has reported the new guidelines follow two recent safety-related incidents involving Korean LCC aircraft: In December 2015, a Jeju Air pilot failed to turn on the cabin air supply, and in January 2016 a Jin Air flight took off with an improperly closed door.
MLIT said the new rules are designed to “fundamentally overhaul the way low-cost carriers (LCCs) run their operations” and would be enforced with penalties for noncompliance. The move comes as part of a wider safety push by Korean aviation authorities, including a plan to mothball old aircraft for safety reasons.
Although the new rules would not be legally enforceable, MLIT said it would impose permit restrictions on offending carriers. It noted that contraventions of the new regulations could result in flight schedule suspensions, cuts in designated routes, and a loss of priority in future slot allocations at relevant airports.