Airline safety under scrutiny
( 2003-07-02 09:37) (China Daily)
China's civil aviation administrator is taking urgent measures to ensure flight safety on domestic airlines.
Six minor accidents involving domestic airlines occurred in June. All of China's four biggest airlines - Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines - are to deal with various problems involving landing difficulties or mechanical failure.
Though no casualties were reported, those accidents have raised the alarm for domestic air carriers, an anonymous senior aviation official said in a telephone interview with China Daily.
"The impact of SARS had put all airlines on the verge of heavy deficits, and no airlines could withstand by severe accidents," the official said.
The General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), the industry's administrator, made it clear that the domestic airlines are destined to face deficits this year. The airlines are in turn trying to cut losses in a number of areas.
The official said the CAAC has sent special inspection teams to local airlines to investigate the causes of the accidents.
"The pilots and related airline officials who are found accountable for those accidents will be punished under related regulations," he said.
As another important measure to ensure aviation safety, China's airlines will be staffed with aviation police starting this October.
These new security staff will travel as crew members, and could react swiftly to any attempted terrorism when the plane is airborne.
The CAAC is refusing to say whether the new staff will take weapons with them into the air, and only they should be qualified to subdue hijackers with great efficiency.
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