Asiana shares fall after San Francisco crash landing

Plane wreckage on the runway (7 July 2013)
Image caption More than 300 people were on Asiana Airlines flight which had taken off from South Korea's capital, Seoul

Shares of South Korean carrier, Asiana Airlines, fell nearly 6% in Seoul, after one of its planes crash landed in San Francisco over the weekend.

US investigators have said the Boeing 777 was "significantly below" its target speed near the runway and the pilot tried to abort the landing.

The plane with 307 people came down short of the runway on Saturday, killing two people and injuring dozens.

Analysts said the incident may hurt Asiana's earnings in the near term.

"Any airline that goes through a crash landing does take a hit to its reputation in the short term," Chris De Lavigne, an aerospace analyst with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan told the BBC.

"We are likely to see some people cancel their bookings and think whether it is safe to fly Asiana, until there is sufficient reassurance from the airline that it has found the root cause and sorted it out."

Mr Lavigne added that the airline may also have to face additional costs in the form of fines from the authorities and possible damages claims from some passengers.

Five people are in critical condition at San Francisco General Hospital, hospital spokesperson Rachael Kagan said. Three others are being treated at Stanford Hospital.

Altogether 181 people were taken to hospital, mostly with minor injuries.

There were 291 passengers and 16 crew on board, Asiana said. All of the passengers have been accounted for.

'Very well run'

Deborah Hersman, the chief of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told a news conference on Sunday that there was a call to increase the plane speed about two seconds before the impact.

She said the pilot then requested a "call to go around" and not land.

For its part, the South Korean airline has said that it is currently not aware of any engine or mechanical problems.

Yoon Young-doo, the head of the airline has said that he was not ruling out human error but added the pilots were experienced veterans.

Analysts said that while it was too early to make any conclusions, the airline needed to act fast to recover from the incident.

"The first thing for Asiana to do is to really get down to the bottom of why this crash occurred," said Mr Lavigne.

"And if it is down to human error, make sure that it puts the procedures into place to ensure that it never happens again."

However, he added that the airline had a good overall reputation and was "very well run".

As for Boeing, analysts said that the incident was unlikely to have any impact on the plane maker's reputation, not least because the airlines has so far ruled out any engine or mechanical problems.

The 777 aircraft is used by many major airlines and has a good safety record.

The only previous notable crash of a 777 plane occurred when a British Airways flight landed short of the runway at London's Heathrow Airport in 2008.

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