Korean Air has started a special safety audit of its Airbus A330 fleet, three days after the second incident involving the airline’s widebody fleet occurred in a week. The latest case saw one of the airline’s A330-300s headed to Sydney, Australia, return to Seoul on Sunday after one of its Pratt & Whitney PW4000-series turbofans malfunctioned during the airplane’s climb, prompting the pilots to shut down the engine.
A week earlier, on October 23, a Korean Air Airbus A330-300 overran the runway at the Philippines’ Mactan Cebu International Airport during heavy rain, causing severe damage to the forward fuselage. All 162 passengers and 11 crew members on board survived the crash after Flight KE631 from Seoul executed two separate go-arounds due to weather conditions, but the airplane sustained major damage as the front of the airplane tipped forward onto its nose, shearing off much of its underbelly. According to FlightRadar24, the aircraft struck an instrument landing system lighting array before coming to rest about 300 meters beyond the runway.
Korean Air told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that it will remove from service 24 A330s in phases, the first of which underwent inspection on Tuesday.
The latest cases add to a fairly long list of Korean Air accidents and incidents over the years, including a 1997 crash that killed 228 people and the 1999 crash of a Korean Air Cargo Boeing 747 in which all four crewmembers died. Thankfully for Korean Air, it has suffered no further fatal accidents since then, although in September one of its Boeing 777-300ERs clipped the tail of an Icelandair Boeing 757-200 on the ground at Heathrow Airport, resulting in no injuries.