The Korea Office of Civil Aviation – KOCA is investigating an Asiana Airlines incident in which a Boeing 767-300 crew continued flying on one engine to its destination instead of diverting to a close alternate.
On April 19, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 767-300, flight OZ603 departed Seoul-Incheon bound to Saipan with 253 passengers on board. One hour after departure, the pilots received a warning light related to one of the aircraft’s two General Electric CF6 engines. The flight crew reduced the affected engine power but the light remained on.
Instead of divert to a close airport in Japan, they decided to continue the flight, landing in Saipan four hours later on a single engine.
On arrival at Saipan, the engineers discovered “metal particles” – apparently caused by abrasion – blocking an engine oil filter. According to South Korean official news agency Yonhap, a replacement engine had to be flown to Saipan.
Asiana operates a fleet of seven 767-300s and one 767-300ERF. The average age of its 767s is 18 years.
A 47-member committee comprising government officials and experts will be assembled to look into the incident.
The Yonhap report adds that the two pilots involved in the incident have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
The incident will raise further questions about the competence of Asiana’s flight crews following the crash of an Asiana Boeing 777-200ER while attempting to land in San Francisco on 6 July 2013. Investigators later attributed this crash to pilot error.