Planet China

Getting hosed

Exactly 300 issues ago we reported on an online survey that had asked the Chinese public who they trusted most. The answer was firemen, who got 29% of the 20,600 votes.

Well, tell that to Fuzhou Airlines, which had a most unsatisfactory encounter last month with the men with hoses. On December 10, the pilots of a Fuzhou Airlines flight noticed that the engine of a nearby Air China plane was in flames. They reported this to the control tower and eight fire engines raced in to deal with it. Unfortunately, one of the firemen mistakenly thought the Fuzhou Airlines plane was ablaze too and decided to hose down its engine as well. That left it incapacitated and led to nearly two hours of delays. Worse, after the plane was towed away for maintenance it was found that the fire brigade’s foam had infiltrated the engine’s core, meaning it had to be sent back to the factory for repairs. This put the aircraft out of action for a week, with some analysts calculating that the fireman’s error has cost Fuzhou Airlines $20 million in lost revenue. The carrier has started a claims procedure against the firefighting unit, according to CCTV News.

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