SEOUL, April 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea has launched a package of measures to strengthen the aviation safety management in 2014, a senior official of South Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said on Tuesday.
Two unexpected South Korean aviation accidents occurring in 2013 have raised concerns over the country's aviation safety, pushing the government to make more efforts to secure the world's best level of aviation safety, said Chang Man-Heui, director of the flight standards division of the civil aviation office under the ministry.
Chang told Xinhua that South Korea will set up a permanent Aviation Safety Committee within this year, which is composed of experts from various areas such as aviation, law and others, to enhance the effectiveness of the safety system.
A temporary Aviation Safety Committee was constituted on July 31, 2013, weeks after the fatal Asiana Airlines crash in the United States. But it was later closed on Nov. 30 the same year.
On July 6, 2013, Asiana flight 214, operating from Seoul Incheon International Airport to San Francisco International Airport, crashed while landing, leaving three Chinese girls dead.
Chang added that besides making continuous efforts in aviation safety oversight system to fully comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization's standards, the government is also upgrading its national aviation safety measures.
The government is now upgrading the safety level of large air carriers with timely amendment to the aviation legislation, improvement of pilot training, establishment of sound safety culture and promotion of safety management system (SMS).
The ministry is also shifting more focus to lost cost carriers, foreign airlines and small-sized aircraft.
"We strongly believe that the large carriers are very strong and have sound system for safety. But the low cost carriers are relatively weak. As more foreign low cost carriers entered the Korean market and more Korean people choose to take these low cost carriers, we will focus on the improvable policies to make them safer," Chang said.
Chang noted the government will support the establishment of tailored safety measures with intensive inspection on weak areas of low cost carriers such as pilot training and management of major aircraft parts by designated aviation safety inspectors.
Four new foreign low cost carriers including China's Spring Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airways have been approved to operate routes in South Korea this year. Chang expected the number still to increase in the following years.
Meanwhile, the government has introduced the Air Operator Certificate for helicopter aerial work operator by developing new requirements in the Flight Safety Regulations of the country.
On Nov. 16, 2013, a South Korean helicopter crashed after hitting an apartment building in central Seoul, leaving two dead.
Talking about the missing Malaysian flight MH370, Chang said the South Korean government has also provided some general advice on upgrading the level of aviation safety accordingly. But as the plane and the real reason for its mysterious disappearance have not been found out yet, it is too early to make more detailed improvements.