The court's decision on Thursday calls for Asiana to suspend its route between Incheon west of Seoul and San Francisco for 45 days within six months. The airline expects a loss of about 11 billion won ($9.1 million) in sales.
On July 6, 2013, An Asiana Boeing 777 with 307 passengers aboard crashed into the breakwater in front of the runway in San Francisco International Airport. Three Chinese passengers were killed and 187 others were injured. In November 2014, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport ordered the suspension of Asiana's operation for 45 days.
Asiana launched a legal fight to nullify the ministry's order, but a district court ruled that Asiana pilots violated navigation rules and took inadequate measures by the error of judgment while landing. The ruling was upheld by an appeals court.
The Supreme Court's decision came on the heels of a trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo that has forced South Korean airlines to suspend services or cut the number of flights on some Japanese routes.
In an effort to ease liquidity woes, the Kumho Asiana group has offered to sell its airline business in return for a bailout from creditors. Kumho hopes to complete the sale of Asiana and two low-cost carriers, Air Seoul and Air Busan, within this year. Due to currency-related losses and increased jet fuel costs, Asiana swung to a net loss of 10.4 billion won in 2018 from a net profit of 248 billion won a year ago.
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