Emirates fined in China as jet flew at wrong altitude

BEIJING • China fined Emirates Airlines 29,000 yuan (RM18,219) 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 (CAAC) in the western province of Xinjiang and central and southern China 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, the 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.

Emirates will cooperate fully with the CAAC and complete all actions recommended by the authority, the carrier said in an emailed statement yesterday. Emirates fully complies with the CAAC’s requirements on all its flight operations to China, the company said.

The censure is part of efforts to improve safety over its airspace by the 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. — Bloomberg