Asiana Airlines is being penalized half a million dollars for failing to assist passengers’ families in a timely manner after Flight 214 crashed last July at San Francisco International Airport.
The financial penalty is a first for the U.S. Department of Transportation, as no airline has ever violated U.S. laws requiring prompt and generous assistance to the loved ones of crash victims.
It took Asiana Airlines two days to contact the families of about three-quarters of the passengers, and a full five days before all of the 291 passengers families had been notified.
With a large portion of families living in South Korea and China, the airline was the main source of information for many families following the crash.
In a prepared statement, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said:
“The last thing families and passengers should have to worry about at such a stressful time is how to get information from their carrier.”
Three girls died and dozens were hurt when the Boeing 777 hit a seawall short of the runway and broke apart as it tried to land.
Despite admitting to difficulties in fulfilling its family assistance plan obligations, Asiana Airlines claims they provided extensive support to the passengers and their families following the accident and will continue to do so.
The airline will pay $400,000 of the penalty as a fine and will get a $100,000 credit to provide training sessions and conferences for employes to provide lessons learned.