Korean Air has had an aircraft that crashed at Cebu Airport in the Philippines in October repainted in an apparent attempt to disguise that the Seoul-based carrier owns the stricken and badly damaged aircraft.
The 24-year-old aircraft crashed during a failed landing attempt on October 23 in stormy conditions that left the Airbus A330 that tore the hull apart but miraculously resulted in no reported injuries among the 162 passengers and 11 crew members.
The aircraft departed Seoul at around 7:20 pm but was then forced to enter a holding pattern over Cebu due to bad weather. The pilots attempted two failed landing attempts before the ‘runway incursion’ occurred on the third landing attempt.
According to initial accident investigation reports, the Captain said they suffered a ‘hard touchdown’ on the second landing attempt and that resulted in a warning light for the aircraft brakes being activated.
As they attempted a third approach in gusty and turbulent conditions, passengers were instructed to adopt the brace position. As they touched down, the brakes warning light again illuminated, and the pilots struggled to slow down the aircraft.
The plane veered off the end of the runway and through an airport fence before passengers were evacuated via emergency slides.
Cebu Airport was closed for several days while the aircraft was recovered from the end of the runway and positioned on the sidelines of the airfield. As the aircraft is a write off, it will have to be dismantled at some point but it’s not known when that extensive work might take place.
In the meantime, Korean Air has had the aircraft repainted so as to disguise the distinctive powder blue livery that is instantly recognisable as a Korean Air aircraft.
Instead, the plane now sports a forest green livery in photos taken by aviation photographer Dirk Grothe and shared on Twitter.
Grothe says the aircraft, which is also missing its tailfin, has been parked and ‘neutralized’ following the accident. All markings that would suggest the aircraft belongs to Korean Air have been removed apart from its registration number (HL7525) which remains painted in bold black letters on the underside of the wings.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.