Two pilots suspended in China over aborted landing

Beijing: Authorities have suspended and revoked the licenses of two pilots with the state-run China Eastern airline over an aborted landing that could have caused a crash, officials said on Monday. On May 1, China Eastern's domestic flight MU 5443 between Chengdu and Kangding cities in Sichuan province cancelled a landing at the last minute for which it was fined some $7,600, EFE news reported. The Airbus A-319 suffered damage to its tail and undercarriage when it attempted to land too fast and too abruptly in bad weather conditions at the Kangding airport, located at an altitude of 4,200 meters. The impact forced the pilots to take off again immediately. The plane did not attempt to land again and flew back to Chengdu where it had departed from, around 325 km away. According to inspectors, the harsh impact could have triggered a crash. The pilots, who initially lied to investigators, made several mistakes while "the crew also violated aviation regulations when they failed to tell passengers to use their oxygen masks when the aircraft was flying at an altitude of over three kilometres," informed sources said. Moreover, only one of the two captains was reportedly in the cockpit at the time of the failed landing. The co-pilot was resting and substituted by the assistant captain, who was not qualified to land on high-altitude runways.