Planet China

Stupid skipper

China is so short of pilots that it has poached nearly 500 of them from South Korea (see this week’s “Aviation” section). But that hasn’t stopped one of the country’s airlines from banning a local pilot for life and suspending his co-pilots indefinitely.

The reason why was the circulation of a photograph online featuring a female passenger. In the image she was seen sitting not only in the cockpit but in the captain’s seat and mid-flight, smiling and flashing a V-sign with her fingers. “Super thankful to the pilot! I am really so excited”, she added by way of explanation.

The pilot of the Air Guilin flight to Yangzhou won’t be returning the gratitude as the airline’s action has effectively ended his career. The carrier had little choice after a major backlash from netizens – furious that he was putting passenger lives at risk. Airline bosses had a “zero tolerance policy towards any unprofessional or improper acts that could endanger air safety,” they told Beijing Youth Daily. He has been banned from flying again and his co-pilots suspended indefinitely. The woman – a student at Guilin Tourism University – has since deleted the post.

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