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Emirates barred from adding new China routes after ‘unsafe operations’

China fined Emirates airline 29,000 yuan (Dh15,678) and barred the carrier from expanding its operations in the country for six months, citing two incidents that violated air-safety norms.

Regional officials of the Civil Aviation Administration of China in the western province of Xinjiang and central and southern China have met with representatives from Emirates to review the operations, the regulator said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

The airline also briefed the authorities on its own probe and plans for improvement, CAAC said.

During an Emirates flight on April 17, the crew misunderstood instructions and flew at a wrong altitude above Urumqi in Xinjiang, according to CAAC.

In another incident on May 18, the airline’s radio communications were cut off over the same region.

An Emirates spokesperson said in response: “Emirates will never compromise on the safety of our passengers and crew. Safety is our number one priority at all times. Emirates fully complies with the CAAC’s requirements on all our flight operations to China.

“Regarding the specific incidents on 17 April 2017 and on 18 May 2017, Emirates will co-operate fully with the CAAC and complete all actions recommended by the authority.”

The censure is part of efforts to improve safety over its airspace by the Chinese regulator, which said this week that it has “zero tolerance” for violations, vowing a mechanism to evaluate and punish unsafe operations by airlines and airports.

Earlier this year, CAAC penalised the Thai unit of AirAsia Bhd. for changing flight plans of 10 chartered aircraft.

In May, the regulator began registering drones after a dozen intrusions at airports in the southwestern part of the country this year threatened hundreds of flights.

Source: The National

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