China to clamp down on elderly aircraft
Airplane flies over China
The Chinese government plans to introduce a ruling in 2014 that will bar Chinese airlines from leasing and operating aircraft more than 10 years old, in the interest of enhancing aviation safety.
Carriers will have to return older leased aircraft to the lessors when the lease expires.
Cai Yun, a Beijing-based official at the Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) of China, said the move may not appeal to the smaller carriers in the provinces but the airlines will have to adhere to the requirement.
“The ruling will be implemented and enforced strictly as it is in the interest of the aviation industry,” Cai Yun said.
China is also evaluating the possibility of extending the ruling at a later stage to cover operation of carrier-owned aircraft that are more than 10 years old.
Cai Yun said that a feasibility study on this is being carried out.
A decision will be made later based on the findings.
Cai pointed out that while China’s aviation safety has improved in leaps and bounds over the last 17 years since its airlines started replacing the old Russian-made Tupolev and Chinese Yaks with Boeing and Airbus aircraft, it should be noted that operating with new technology and fuel efficient aircraft reduces operating and maintenance costs.
Cai acknowledged that there are aircraft within the local airline industry currently with shabby cabins, an indication of not only wear and tear with age but also possibly of poor maintenance of the interior.
China’s rapidly growing aviation industry currently operates 2,200 aircraft.
With immediate effect CAAC has made it mandatory for students aspiring to be pilots to undergo an intensive six-month English course before they are accepted in flying schools in China.
“This is to ensure that they are able to communicate effectively with the air traffic control in the interest of safety,” Cai explained.
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