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South Korea's Asiana Airlines is reportedly flying the world's biggest commercial planes over the country without passengers or a destination, just to keep the trainee pilots certified.
According to Business Insider, the airline in a desperate attempt to prevent its pilots from losing the right to operate the planes is flying empty Airbus SE A380s.
The empty Airbus SE A380 flew over South Korea for a few hours a day for three days in May to enable pilots of the 495-seat superjumbo to practice taking off and landing said the company spokesman.
"Takeoffs and landings of this plane cost a lot of money, and it's money that needs to be used wisely, especially these days," said Um Kyung-a, an analyst at Seoul-based financial services company Shinyoung Securities, told Bloomberg.
It is, however, necessary. If Asiana's pilots don't fly at least three times in a three-month period, they lose their right to operate the plane.
"Asiana is in a bind because it also can't afford for its pilots to lose their licenses," said Um.
Asiana had another 135 pilots who didn't have enough flying time on its six A380s, but it couldn't afford to keep flying the empty jet. In the end, the country's transport ministry extended the pilots' flying credentials as a special exemption, reported HT.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has provided guidelines to state members on how to help pilots keep up their skills. Normally, pilots must have taken off and landed an aircraft at least three times within the previous 90 days to keep their license.
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