A JEJU Air 737 crew performed an unstabilized approach in August. And it later got them in trouble, because the aircraft… reported them.
The incident happened on the 14th of August this year. It involved Jeju Air flight HL8089, in the world’s single busiest airline route. That’s from Seoul Gimpo Airport (RKSS) to Jeju Airport (RKPC), in South Korea. This flight had 138 passengers and crew on board.
The JEJU 737 crew were on final for runway 07 at Jeju airport. The Captain was pilot flying. When the aircraft went below 1,000 feet AGL, the First Officer called for a go-around. This was because the jet’s landing gear was not down and the flaps were not set. But instead of going around, the Captain lowered the gear and set the flaps for landing.
The flight continued for a successful landing. However, it appears that the late configuration of the JEJU 737 triggered an OFDM event. This is the Operational Flight Data Monitoring system. It is a component of each airline’s Safety Management System (SMS). In general terms, the OFDM system will look for abnormal events in a flight. These could include too-high approach speeds, bank angles or, as in this case, late configurations for landing.
Reasoning, Aftermath And JEJU Air 737
This system doesn’t inform the airline directly about such events. The process will vary depending on the severity of each event. But in this case, JEJU Air confirmed the setting of flaps and gear below 1,000 feet AGL, by checking the Quick Access Recorder (QAR) of this 737. According to the airline’s standard operating procedures, crews should set flaps and gear by 1,000 feet AGL at the latest.
South Korean sources said that the Captain’s actions involved operational considerations. In case of a go-around, the JEJU 737 could have to divert to Seoul. But the flight’s origin airport, Gimpo, closes at 23:00 local. So the flight would instead have to divert to Seoul Incheon (RKSI). This would be an operational headache for the airline.
The airline suspended the Captain for four weeks, and the First Officer for two weeks. The landing itself was otherwise uneventful, and the JEJU 737 in this incident continued normal service. It is a 737-8AS(WL), with tail number HL8089. The first operator of the 12-year-old aircraft was Ryanair, from 2009 until 2017. JEJU Air has been operating it since April that year.
South Korea’s Ministry of Transport indicated that the airline did not notify them about this incident. We saw another interesting incident involving the airline earlier this year, here.
For a detailed look into the Operational Flight Data Monitoring system (OFDM), check out the Mentour video below:
Spyros Georgilidakis has degrees in Business Enterprise and Management. He has 14 years of experience in the hospitality and travel industries, along with a passion for all-things-aviation and travel logistics. He is also an experienced writer and editor for on-line publications, and a licensed professional drone pilot.