Emirates is banned from adding new routes in China for six months and fined by regulators after plane flew at the wrong height

Rebecca Smith
The airline giant has been fined
The airline giant has been fined (Source: Getty)

Emirates is in hot water in China after two incidents of "unsafe operations".

The airline has been fined by China's civil aviation authority and banned from adding both new destinations and aircraft in China for six months.

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The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said airline crew were responsible for an incident in April when aircraft flew at the wrong height, and another in May when a plane temporarily lost contact with air traffic control. Both took place over the far western region of Xinjiang, the CAAC said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The airline said it will cooperate fully with the regulator regarding the two incidents and "complete all actions recommended by the authority".

"Emirates will never compromise on the safety of our passengers and crew," it said. "Safety is our number one priority at all times. Emirates fully complies with the CAAC’s requirements on all our flight operations to China."

The CAAC fined Emirates 29,000 yuan (£3,350) over the incidents and said it had called senior airline officials to a meeting.

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While it won't be a significant hit to Emirates' earnings, the measures do ground strategic growth plans for the country. Emirates currently operates 38 weekly flights to five cities in mainland China.

China is set to overtake the US and become the world's largest aviation market by passenger numbers by 2024, and in 2035, China will be a market of 1.3bn passengers, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Global passenger traffic is forecast to keep rising too, with most growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region as economies grow and more people can afford to fly.

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