10th June 2023 – (Seoul) Asiana Airlines is facing a repair bill of approximately 640 million won after a passenger forcibly opened the emergency door of a flight in mid-air. The A321-200 aircraft was damaged in three parts, including the emergency door and slide, with the cost of repairs estimated to be around 6.4 billion won (US$537,000).
The incident occurred on May 26th on Asiana Airlines flight OZ8124 from Jeju to Daegu when a passenger named Aunt (33) turned the emergency exit lever during the flight, causing the emergency door to open at an altitude of approximately 213 meters above Daegu Airport. The emergency door and the escape slide were damaged in the process. Temporary repairs were made at Daegu Airport, and the aircraft was later moved to Incheon for further repairs.
The doctor who treated the passenger on board at the time reported to the office manager that “Mr. A opened the door in anger because the plane arrived late.” The passenger, identified as Lee, was subsequently investigated by the police and arrested on June 2nd for violating the Aviation Security Act and damaging property.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has stated that the emergency exit was able to be opened during the flight due to the low difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the aircraft. The seat was close to the emergency exit, so accidental operation was possible while seated. It was also discovered that the A321 model where the incident occurred did not have an automatic locking function for emergency exits due to design limitations.
Asiana Airlines is also assessing its own damage resulting from the incident. The repair costs are expected to be significant, with the airline facing a long road ahead to fully recover from the incident. The incident has brought to light the importance of ensuring the safety of passengers on board flights and the need for strict measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The interim investigation result of the illegal opening of the Asiana Airlines emergency exit was secured by the Democratic Party of Korea’s Office of Representative Chul-Min Jang, a member of the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Committee of the National Assembly. The incident has sparked concerns regarding the safety of passengers on board flights and the need for stricter measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.