China says it will inspect airline safety measures in wake of crash that killed 42

Friday, August 27, 2010

China to inspect airline safety in wake of crash

BEIJING — China will inspect airline safety measures nationwide in the wake of a crash that killed 42 people at a small airport in the northeast, the country’s civil aviation body said Friday.

Tuesday’s crash also injured 52, including 15 who are in critical condition. The Brazilian-made Embraer 190 plane belonging to Henan Airlines crashed during a nighttime landing at Yichun in Heilongjiang province.

It was China’s worst commercial airline disaster in nearly six years. Officials have yet to announce the cause of the crash but initial probes and survivors’ accounts indicate the plane missed the runway and crashed on the ground.

The Civil Aviation Authority of China said in a statement Friday that it had dispatched six teams to supervise the inspection work but didn’t specify where they had gone. They will look at safety awareness, training of personnel, implementation of regulations, equipment and accountability systems, it said.

China’s aviation industry has expanded rapidly in recent years and regulators have struggled to keep up. Airports have proliferated as have small regional airlines, reaching into remote cities like Yichun — 90 miles (150 kilometers) from the Russian border — that are eager to develop tourism and other industries to catch up with the country’s economic boom.

Henan’s board of directors fired the airline’s general manager, Li Qiang, and appointed an acting manager to replace him. Cao Bo, Li’s replacement, served as the chief pilot of Shenzhen Airlines, the parent company of Henan Airlines.

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