Asiana 767 crew grounded after flying on one engine

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South Korean regulators are investigating Asiana Airlines following a 19 April incident in which the crew of a Boeing 767-300 aircraft did not divert after they observed a warning with the aircraft’s port-side engine.

One hour into a Seoul Incheon-Saipan flight, the crew observed a warning light relating to one of the aircraft’s two General Electric CF6 engines, says a statement from South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.

The crew reduced the engine’s power, but the warning light remained on. Rather than divert to an airport in Japan, the crew elected to fly on, eventually landing in Saipan four hours later on a single engine.

Maintenance personnel in Saipan later 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.

The flight number was OZ603, and there were 253 passengers aboard. The carrier was unable to provide Flightglobal with the aircraft’s registration number.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database shows that the operator has 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.