Alarming rise in airport incidents spurs action from Korean Transport Ministry

  • Recent surge in aviation-related incidents prompts tighter security measures at airports.
  • Expansion of security inspections to transfer areas and in-flight security checks; introduction of state-of-the-art detection equipment.
  • Increase in safety training for flight crews and reinforced international cooperation for airport inspections.

SEOUL — In light of an alarming increase in airport-related incidents, Korea's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has taken decisive action, The Korea Times reports. The ministry announced a slew of enhanced security measures on Monday, intended to ensure passenger safety and restore confidence in the nation's aviation sector.

Recent alarming trends include passengers found carrying prohibited items such as knives and bullets, as well as deportees making daring escapes from custody. The situation is further compounded by security mishaps like drones colliding with airport infrastructure and passengers recklessly opening emergency doors mid-flight. Notably, there have also been lapses like airport staff overlooking faulty safety tools and flight crews manipulating their duty logs. Disturbingly, the number of such occurrences had surged to a staggering 252 by June, a marked rise from the 85 cases documented in 2021.

In response, the ministry is set to expand its focus to airport transfer zones, putting in place rigorous in-flight safety verifications. As a part of this global approach to aviation safety, flights en route to the U.S. will undergo stringent checks by specialized agencies appointed by American authorities.

To further this initiative, flight personnel will undergo extended safety training. This enhancement in protocol will also see the introduction of a dedicated safety officer among the crew, whose primary role will be to monitor and flag suspicious on-board activities.

In terms of technological advancements, travelers can expect to see the deployment of cutting-edge security equipment at terminals. This includes, but isn't limited to, 3D X-ray machines and recognition systems capable of scanning facial features and handprints.

Highlighting the need for accountability, there's a push for increased oversight of smaller security firms associated with airports, both domestically and internationally. Regular protocol audits by airport management will ensure these firms meet the required standards.

Underpinning this renewed emphasis on safety, officials from both Korea and the U.S. will collaborate to conduct unannounced, joint airport inspections. This synergy is expected to lead to enhanced safety protocols and more comprehensive inspections.

Speaking from the Seoul Government Complex in Gwanghwamun, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Won Hee-ryong, emphasized the administration's unwavering commitment to air travel safety. He highlighted the urgent need for revamped inspection measures and underscored the critical importance of ongoing training for both airport and flight personnel.