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CAAC to tighten control on flight safety
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-12-27 23:14

The nation's civil aviation watchdog vowed Monday to develop tighter controls to ensure safer flights.

Safety supervision will top the administration's efforts next year as potentially dangerous problems still lurk in the industry, said Yang Yuanyuan, director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC).

Yang made the remarks at a two-day national conference which opened in Beijing Monday.

While intensifying liability for aviation enterprises, the administration plans to launch intensive checks of flight training and aircraft maintenance as well as overtime flights, he said.

Since the reforms in the civil aviation industry were completed in July, discrepancies have been found in some companies' operations and technical standards as well as flight controls and management.

"The administration and regional aviation authorities will conduct an assessment of airports' maintenance capabilities. Those that fail to meet the requirements will be forced out of the market," Yang said.

He urged airlines to intensify construction of operation control centres to improve the efficiency in plane deployment.

"At the same time, airlines must increase input into training of flight and maintenance professionals to improve their ability to ensure safety," Yang said.

In his annual report, Yang highlighted safety concerns that have grown since a China Eastern plane crashed in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on November 21, killing 55.

The accident brought to an end the safest period in the nation's civil aviation history -- 5 million flying hours in 30 months without accidents since May 8, 2002.

Yang warned airlines to pay additional attention to internal safety management as they move to introduce more airplanes, expand air bases and more routes and flights.

Some airlines were found to have neglected safety and service in pursuit of profit, Yang stressed.

He said the industry's skill set has not kept up with the rapid development and fast growth.

Putting both on equal footing is the top priority for next year.

According to CAAC's statistics, from January to November, the passenger transport capacity totalled more than 112 million while cargo transport hit 2.5 million tons, that's up 41.5 and 26.7 per cent respectively from a year earlier.

To promote safety management, Yang said, his administration will formulate a system in the next year to demand airlines earmark capital for safety training, purchase of facilities for emergency rescue operation and assessment of potential danger for accident.

The CAAC will regulate how much they should devote to this effort.

Meanwhile, the administration will impose a charge on aviation enterprises to develop a pool of funds set aside to pay for rescue operations as well as accident investigations and aftermath, Yang said.

A national conference on civil aviation safety and security is scheduled to be held in January.

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