China censures Emirates airline after two safety incidents

SHANGHAI/DUBAI - China's civil aviation authority has fined Dubai-based carrier Emirates and barred it from adding new destinations and aircraft in China for six months after two incidents of "unsafe operations", the state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

According to the report the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said that the pilots were responsible for an incident on April 17 when an aircraft flew at the wrong altitude and another on May 18 when a plane temporarily lost contact with air traffic control.

Both happened over China's far western region of Xinjiang, it said.

CAAC fined Emirates, the world's largest long-haul airline, 29,000 yuan (S$5,886) and said it had summoned senior officials from the airline for a meeting, Xinhua reported without further details.

Emirates said that it "fully complies" with CAAC's requirements for its flights to China and that it would"co-operate fully" and "complete all actions recommended" by the aviation authority regarding the two incidents.

"Emirates will never compromise on the safety of our passengers and crew. Safety is our number-one priority at all times," the airline said in a statement.