Chinese Civil Aviation Authority uncovers 200 pilots with false papers

by Emily DUNBAR on September 7, 2010

According to the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority, it has launched a nationwide safety investigation after last month’s crash in Yichun, which killed 42 people.

The CAA reviewed the pilot’s records of all of China’s major airlines to discover more than 200 pilots operating with fraudulent licences. In some cases it was revealed that even the pilot’s qualifications and flight experience had been fabricated.

The state media is reporting now, that several pilots have been suspended while further investigations are conducted. The CAA will also implement a compulsory set of exams designed to test all technical crew and flight staff on operating procedures. Shenzhen Airlines employed at least half of the pilots that are now suspended, which is the parent company of Henan Airlines, which was responsible for the crash in Yichun. The crash was caused when a Brazilian-made aircraft missed the runway in the small northern province of Heilongjiang. The disaster is China’s first major incident in six years.

After a near crash on 1 September triggered concerns, China Express Air was also ordered to suspend its operations. The investigation will continue and the over 200 pilots that have been suspended are currently under review by the CAA pending further information.

The China Air Express airline is based in Guizhou province and operates internal flights around China. Since the Yichun crash, airlines in China have fallen under criticism for their safety procedures and questionability of qualified staff. The Chinese CAA said it will issue a full report detailing airlines in noncompliance with safety regulation upon completion of the safety investigation.

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