Andrzej Jeziorski/SEOUL

Korean Air (KAL), desperate to restore its credibility after a string of crashes, is embarking on a $200 million reform programme to boost safety.

The airline hopes this will lead to resumption of codeshare agreements with Air France, Delta Air Lines and Air Canada, which have been suspended because of the South Korean carrier's troubles. According to KAL president and chief executive Shim Yi-Taek, the Air France and Delta codeshares could be reinstated by the beginning of next year. A US Department of Defense ban on its personnel flying with KAL will be reviewed in September.

Shim, appointed in a management reshuffle after the latest fatal hull loss at Shanghai on 15 April, says safety is his main focus. "We fully understand the need to regain the confidence of the world's travelling community and our alliance partners," says Shim.

Among the policies being implemented are:

• fleet-wide enhanced ground proximity warning systems;

• hiring more than 100 additional expatriate training captains;

• English-language training;

• double the amount of simulator training for KAL pilots;

• a new crew resource management training programme designed for KAL by the University of Texas, Delta Air Lines and KAL.

These policies reinforce the recently signed five-year contract with FlightSafety Boeing, which is unprecedented in the degree to which it outsources responsibility for pilot training.

FlightSafety Boeing instructors will check crew proficiency every six months, conduct all simulator training and recurrent pilot evaluations, assess emergency training and carry out all training and check rides with new captains.

The contract includes a "get-out" clause for KAL after two years, and Shim says: "After two years we may put our instructors forward to take [the training] over gradually."

According to deputy head of flight operations Bill Hardy, a Boeing 747-400 captain, the expatriate pilots will not be replacing Korean captains; more pilots will be needed because KAL is reducing pilot flying hours.

Shim says he wants a more open, less remote and authoritarian management style. "I found employee morale is one of the most important factors [in improving safety standards]," he says.

• The Chinese and UK authorities are studying a near miss over China. A Korean Air Boeing 747-200F reports climbing after a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) resolution advisory (RA) to avoid an "unidentified aircraft". Then, says KAL, a British Airways 747-400 entered TCAS range triggering another climb RA. The BA crew got a descend RA and the aircraft passed within 200m. BA says the TCAS did not show a third aircraft.

Source: Flight International