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Asiana seeks cockpit culture change after U.S. crash

The wrecked fuselage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 sits in a storage area at San Francisco International Airport, July 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
Getty Images
The wrecked fuselage of Asiana Airlines flight 214 sits in a storage area at San Francisco International Airport, July 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

SEOUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - South Korea's Asiana Airlines Inc is changing its pilot training programme and encouraging its crew to talk more in a bid to change a corporate culture that U.S. investigators said may have been a factor in a crash last year.

A hearing into the July 6 crash that killed three people and injured more than 180 people in San Francisco revealed that one of the pilots said he did not feel he had the authority to abort a low-speed landing as people at a "higher level" had to make that decision.

(Read more: Korean culture may offer clues in Asiana crash)

"It's a reality that within our country there is a leaning toward a patriarchal culture and many pilots work and fly within the strict military order," Chief Executive Kim Soo-cheon told reporters Monday.

The airline has since September strengthened pilot training, set up out-of-office gatherings and recommended all members of the flight crew address each other with honorifics while working, regardless of rank, Kim said.

Yamamura Akiyoshi, senior executive vice president in charge of safety since December, added that Asiana was also seeking to encourage staff to report problems without fearing possible penalties.

Another factor highlighted in the December hearing was pilots' reliance on the autopilot to maintain airspeed. One of the pilots also said he was stressed about manually flying the plane.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the crash of the Boeing 777 aircraft is still ongoing and both Kim and Yamamura declined to give details about the probe.

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