Home' Asian Aviation : AAV October 2011 Contents Chinese authorities have revoked the licence
of a Juneyao Airlines captain who ignored
repeated instructions from air traffic control
(ATC) to abort a landing approach to allow
priority to another aircraft, which was running
out of fuel. The airline itself has also been hit
with sanctions over the incident.
The captain of Juneyao flight HO1112, an
Airbus A320, ignored six ATC requests over
seven minutes while on approach to land at
Shanghai Hongqiao Airport on 13 August.
Controllers wanted the aircraft to go around to
make way for a Qatar Airways Boeing 777-
300ER, which had declared an emergency and
requested priority landing due to low fuel.
Qatar flight QR888 and the Juneyao aircraft
were at risk of a mid-air collision before both
landed safely. QR888, a non-stop flight from
Doha to Shanghai Pudong International Airport,
had been diverted to Hongqiao after holding
for 20 minutes due to bad weather.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China
(CAAC) says in a statement that investigations
revealed the Juneyao A320 had sufficient fuel
to remain airborne for 42 minutes more, but
falsely reported insufficient fuel as the grounds
for ignoring the ATC requests.
“QR888 had fuel for another 18 minutes,
but reported that fuel was five minutes from
emergency level,” CAAC says. The Chinese
regulator notes that the Qatar pilot was following
regulations, while HO1112 that breached clause
CCAR-91-R2 of China’s civil aviation act.
The CAAC says it will inform the Civil Aviation
Authority of Qatar that fuel requirements and
calculations need improvement. According
to Tian Baohua, an official of the Ministry
of Transport’s advisory committee in Beijing,
the pilots of the 777-300ER could only make
conservative estimates of remaining fuel as
gauges are not always 100 percent reliable.
The CAAC has revoked the licence of the
Korean captain of HO1112 and informed the
Korean civil aviation authorities of its decision.
The flight’s first officer has been suspended for
The authority has also ordered Shanghai-
based Juneyao itself to cut capacity by 10
percent for three months. The carrier has been
barred indefinitely from expanding its fleet or
network and hiring foreign pilots.
Rapid expansion of civil aviation in China is
making airspace increasingly crowded, adding to
ATC problems and raising the risks of accidents.
Refusal to follow ATC instructions is emerging
as an additional problem, with pilots stretched to
their limits because of an acute shortage in the
local industry. Some Chinese carriers, like Hainan
Airlines and Sichuan Airlines, have searched as
far afield as South America to hire pilots.
Further difficulties arise as some local pilots
have problems communicating effectively
The CAAC made it a requirement in 1999
that local cadet pilots who were not conversant
in English were required to undergo a six-month
language course before enrolling in a flying
school. It is unclear how strictly this rule has
been enforced. – William Dennis
Juneyao pilots grounded for ignoring ATC instructions
Thai Airways International will launch a new
‘light-premium’ carrier in July 2012, initially
operating domestic flights.
To be known as Thai Smile Air (TSA), it will
be based at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport,
operating an initial fleet of three Airbus
A320s to Surat Thani, Udon Thani, Khon
Kaen, Chiang Rai and Ubon Ratchathani –
all destinations set to be dropped by Thai
Airways. The aircraft will be configured to
accommodate 174 passengers in a single-
The fleet will expand to 11 aircraft in
2013, with the launch of international flights
to China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia,
Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. TSA officials
decline to identify the precise international
destinations for competitive reasons.
According to TSA Managing Director
Woranate Laprabang the new carrier will
follow a hybrid business model, positioned
between full-service Thai Airways and low-
cost airlines like Tiger Airways and AirAsia.
TSA aims to target younger travellers and
business travellers on a budget, as well as
government employees and anyone who
wants a relaxed, stylish flying experience
without paying premium fares. Passengers
will served meals and drinks, with up to 20kg
of checked luggage permitted and free seat-
selection on ticket-purchase.
The carrier is now finalising the design
of its logo, cabin interior and uniforms.
Woranate says there will be no competition
with LCC Nok Air, which is majority-owned
by Thai Airways.
Thai Airways officials in Bangkok say the
carrier’s plan to launch its new LCC Thai
Wings in the first quarter of 2012 remains on
schedule. The Thai Airways board has given
the go-ahead for the start-up carrier.
Thai Wings, which will also be based at
Suvarnabhumi Airport, will compete with
the likes of Nok Air and Thai AirAsia on
major domestic routes to destinations
such as like Hat Yai and Phuket, and on
regional services. – William Dennis
Thai Airways to launch new ‘light-premium’ carrier
The CAAC has penalised Juneyao Airlines over the incident.
12 AsianAviation | OCTOBER 2011
30/09/11 9:32 PM
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