ANA veteran to revamp safety regime at Asiana

by Yasuji Matsumoto

Kyodo

A former All Nippon Airways pilot has been hired by Asiana Airlines to improve its safety standards after a fatal crash last July at San Francisco International Airport.

“I have extensive international experience and will aim to enhance safety management at Asiana on the basis of common knowledge at the world’s airlines,” Akiyoshi Yamamura, 65, said at a press conference in Seoul in December.

Yamamura is the first foreigner to become chief safety manager at the South Korean airline. He is leading a new office set up in September in the wake of the botched landing, which led to the deaths of three people and injured more than 180 others.

Yamamura, from Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, said he did not hesitate to accept the safety management post.

“I felt terribly sorry as a person who has long served the aviation industry,” Yamamura said of the crash, in which two Chinese teenagers died.

The veteran pilot spent about 20 years in the field of safety management until retiring from ANA last May. He was also a safety inspector at the International Air Transport Association, a global airline trade group.

After taking his post at Asiana, Yamamura launched an inspection of the airline’s organizational structure.

While Japanese and South Korean airlines may have different structures and different policies, both “place top priority on safety,” he said.

Yamamura said his goal is to “create a tailor-made security system only for Asiana” by incorporating the safety control know-how he acquired at ANA.