The Federal Aviation Administration announced late Thursday that South Korea was once again meeting the safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization after being demoted from Category 1 status to Category 2 in August.
"Korean Air has made significant improvements in all areas of flight operations," declared John Marshall, Delta's vice president for corporate safety and compliance. "The results of this review reflect that Korean Air has met all applicable ICAO safety standards."
The ICAO is an arm of the United Nations that governs technical issues involving international commercial air tavel.
Marshall said in a statement that Korean Air had upgraded its safety training and language training programs as well as ground-based equipment dealing with flight planning, dispatch and communications.
"No date has been set for the resumption of Delta codeshare operations on Korean Air operated flights," according to Marshall. "However, with approval from the FAA, Delta expects to move forward with this extension of our cooperation in the spring of 2002."
While the FAA said that the ICAO ratings are not a judgment as to whether a particular airline is actually safe or not, being on the Category 1 list is critical to Korean Air and other international air carriers since being in compliance with ICAO standards is required of airlines serving U.S. markets.
Korean Air, Air France and Delta have an arrangement in which passengers ticketed on one airline actually fly certain legs on one of the other two carriers. The arrangement, known as codesharing, is common in the air transport industry, most often used for long-haul international flights.
Being knocked down to Category 2 meant that Korean Air, along with South Korea's Asiana airlines, were blocked by U.S. and French law from expanding or altering their codesharing arrangements with U.S. and French carriers.
Korean Air, Delta and Air France last month announced the opening of a new headquarters in Atlanta for a joint air cargo venture serving 14 major U.S. cities.