It appears the old Korean proverb, that a person only reveals their true self when drinking, is the region’s motto for safe air travel.
Perhaps one is able to finely tune their senses in the troposphere when connected with their ‘true self’. Or perhaps Korean pilots are simply partying in the sky.
Statistics seem to point to the latter, as until recently, Korean Airlines had higher crash rates than any other airline on the planet. And since late last year, two pilots have turned up for work in South Korea utterly over juiced.
What’s more, with FUI not classified as a criminal offence in the country, there hasn’t been much incentive to keep the good times on the ground. As the harshest wrap a pilot can receive for alcohol associated aeronautics is a 30-day fly ban.
That was until the Seoul government decided that with the threat of another attack from its northern neighbour imminent, they better start cracking down on the cockpit carousals.
As of next year, FUI will be considered illegal, and any who breach that law will be imprisoned for up to two years. Furthermore, any airlines failing to monitor their pilot’s sobriety levels will face hefty fines.
While the announcement last week by the Seoul Transport Ministry has been greeted with air industry approval, the country’s frequent flyers are more than a little concerned by the delay in proceedings.
Pusan businessman and regular flyer, Kim Katoochi, says with the law not set to take effect until January, pilots will likely take advantage of the delay and bust into numerous high altitude discos of debauchery. He says Korean skies could turn into a circus, be misinterpreted by the north as an attack, and his favourite noodle bar could be decimated by nuclear stupidity.