South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Monday it was investigating a maintenance problem in the country’s presidential jet after it was forced to make an unprecedented emergency landing.
The plane, a Boeing 747-400 leased from Korean Air, bound for the United Arab Emirates carrying President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok, flew back less than half an hour after taking off on Saturday due to a continued noise in its front part and made an emergency landing at Incheon International Airport.
Officials said a minor technical glitch was found inside the ventilation system, and it was repaired immediately. The incident, however, caused a two-hour delay in the president’s arrival in Abu Dhabi.
“A maintenance problem in the presidential jet is a grave matter that can be directly related with the president’s security and safety,” a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said.
Cheong Wa Dae is thoroughly investigating the cause of the maintenance problem and will closely review the overall safety measures of the presidential jet, code-named Korea Air Force One, he added
Cheong Wa Dae leased the aircraft from Korean Air, a national flag carrier, last year in a four-year contract under which the company provides crew members, maintenance and other services.
After the president returns to Seoul on Tuesday, the head of the Presidential Security Service, Kim In-jong, plans to call in related officials at Korean Air and the Air Force for questioning and discussions on ways to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.