AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

South Korea suspends Asiana Airlines flights at SFO

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean officials said Friday they will ban Asiana Airlines from flying to San Francisco for 45 days as punishment for a deadly crash in July last year.

An official from Asiana Airlines said the company will appeal the decision by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport's disciplinary committee, and will consider legal measures if the committee rejects the appeal. She did not want to be named, citing company rules.

A ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing office rules, said if the company does appeal, the ministry will make a final decision within one month.

The official said the committee considered the number of deaths and injuries and the amount of property damage in deciding on the length of the flight ban.

If the appeal is rejected, the ministry will ask the company to choose a period in the next six months to serve the suspension, he said.

Asiana said it sells about 170,000 tickets a year for its flights between Incheon and San Francisco, with 70 percent of the customers being non-South Koreans.

After an investigation that took nearly a year, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded in June that the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 caused the crash by making errors during a landing in San Francisco. Of the 307 people on board, three people were killed and nearly 200 were injured.

San Francisco International Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said he could not comment on the suspension's effect because key details, such as the suspension start date, appeal process outcome, and whether other airlines would be increasing service, were not yet known.

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