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Plane catches on fire at Shenzhen Airport, 12 injured

Posted: 08/26/2013 7:00 am

Shenzhen Airlines flight ZH9969 which was destined for Beijing caught fire at Shenzhen Airport yesterday during the launch of the auxiliary power units. Twelve passengers received minor injuries while evacuating, Guangzhou Daily reported on its microblog last night.

Image courtesy of Sina Weibo

The accident took place at 18:10 and engineers pledged to work into the night to identify the cause.

The injured were taken to hospital and the other passengers were put on alternative flights.

The nation’s airports are a constant source of drama, mainly due to delayed flights, but the safety record is better than many other countries at a similar stage of development.

The last major air crash in the country took place in August 2010 when a China Eastern flight overshot the runway at Yichun Airport in Heilongjiang Province. Forty-three were killed, ending a five-year record of safe air travel in the country.

Russia, for example, has a much worse record. It saw five separate plane crashes in 2011 alone, leading to 112 fatalities, according to Journalist, aviator and China watcher James Fallows used this to argue his case that infrastructure spending should be sexy.

Shenzhen Airlines, despite being at the centre of a scandal in 2010 when it emerged that many of its pilots had forged their qualifications, has never been involved in a fatal crash.


“Ghost-like” look of Shenzhen Airlines stewardesses scaring passengers

Posted: 07/10/2013 1:00 pm

The “ghost-like” look combining white make-up with cherry-red lipstick sported by Shenzhen Airlines stewardesses to mark the airline’s 20-year anniversary has proved controversial with netizens, Fenghuang reports.

The new look, courtesy of the China Aviation Association website.

The stewardesses have been sporting the look since July 1 and the main colour used in the uniform is red, which is said to symbolise dynamism and enthusiasm. Other features of the look include generous use of eye-shadow and blush.

It’s no secret that beauty standards are often part of the selection process when companies employ females for such jobs.

But this new look is not everybody’s idea of beautiful. Here are some netizens’ reactions, as translated from Fenghuang:

Weini Brother – Ghosts.

Danjindao – I would never use this airline on evening flights. It would be too frightening.

Yilvhui – This look will end up on porn websites.

Longjing – How many kilograms of powder do they have on their faces?

Wangxing WX – This is the legendary Geisha look.

The evolution of beauty standards in China is itself a fascinating topic and the Global Times published a great feature on it this year. Regardless of how tastes change and opinions differ, it is widely agreed that beauty is a huge asset among young job-seeking women in China.


Shenzhen Airlines slashes fares to Bangkok, only RMB700 return

Posted: 07/5/2013 10:00 am

We’ve all had “bad China days” at some point, and wished we could just be somewhere else.  Now you can, and for much less than you might have thought possible.

Shenzhen Airlines is slashing fares to Bangkok, that den of iniquity, starting on July 15.  It will set you back only RMB500 for a one-way trip (and we wouldn’t blame you for that), or RMB700 return, 163 reports.

There are actually two flights a day, with one leaving Shenzhen at 5:10pm (ZH9204) and the other at 11:15pm (ZH9003).  The return flights depart Bangkok at 8:15pm and 3:30am.

You better snap up tickets fast because competition will be fierce. Moreover, it’s probably unwise to get your hopes up about the flights being on time.


Train arriving soon: Shenzhen to Xiamen’s sandy beaches in just 3 hours

Posted: 02/22/2013 2:10 pm

A weekend getaway to sand and sea (and maybe sunshine) without having to fight queues at airport security will soon be possible.

A new coast-to-coast high-speed rail link shuttling passengers between Shenzhen and Xiamen in Fujian province in just three hours will launch this coming September.

The new 20-stop route will skirt along several major cities along the way, including Huizhou. The line will be a big boost to for travellers.  Shenzhen is a go-to destination for business while Xiamen is popular for its sandy beaches and surrounding views. It’s often seen as an alternative to the hotspot of Hainan Island.

All of this will be possible when trains begin departing from Shenzhen North Station, slashing the existing train time from a whopping 15 hours.

Life of Guangzhou believes the price of a first class ticket between Shenzhen North and Xiamen will be 190 yuan and a standard class fare will be 160 yuan one-way.

In the battle for passengers between airlines and railways (as we reported a few days ago), this new front will put pressure on Shenzhen Airlines, Hainan Airlines, China Southern and it’s subsidiary Xiamen Air, who all fly out of Bao’an Airport. Prices could well be set for a downward trend.

The latest check on September one-way airfares with show tickets selling for 550 yuan before taxes and other fees.

Here is the station list calling at:
Guangdong province (广东省)
Shenzhen North (圳北站) – Pingshan (坪山) – Huizhou South (惠南)- Huizhou East (惠东) – Houmen (鲘门) – Shanwei (汕尾) – Lufeng (陆丰) – Kuitan (葵潭) – Puning (普宁) – Chaoyang (潮阳) – Chaoshan (潮汕) – Raoping (饶平)

Fujian province (福建省)
Zhaoan (诏安) – Yunxiao (云霄) – Zhangpu (漳浦) – Yangkui (杨奎) – Zhangzhou South (漳州南) – Jiaomei (角美) – Qianchang (前场) – Xiamen North (厦门北).

Station list: Life of Guangzhou

Image: Danny Lee


A jilted boyfriend may have lead to bomb scare on Shenzhen Airlines flight

Posted: 02/21/2013 3:25 pm

Another scare in the skies above China early this morning after a flight bound for Shenzhen was forced to turn back because of a bomb scare which was likely the result of a jilted boyfriend.

Shenzhen Airlines flight ZH9786 had just taken off from Hefei Airport in Anhui Province when an anonymous phone call was received that a bomb was on board. Shenzhen Airlines was informed immediately to land at the nearest possible place, which turned out to be Nanchang Airport. Nothing unusual was found on the plane following an inspection, media reports said.

According to Hefei Airport, a man called an airport service telephone to say a woman on board the flight had taken an explosive item on board. The woman was identified when the plane landed, but she wasn’t found to be carrying anything suspicious. Turns out her boyfriend may have been angry after a conflict with the woman, and probably phoned in the threat to embarrass her.

Photo Credit: Life Cherries


Shenzhen Airlines flight makes emergency landing after burning smell in cockpit

Posted: 01/24/2013 2:23 pm

Vehicles at the airport respond to the emergency

Better safe than sorry.

A Boeing 737-800 flight from Shenzhen to Beijing made an emergency landing at Wuhan Tianhe Airport yesterday after a “burning smell” was detected in the cockpit, CRI English reports.

The airport said on its microblog that there were no injuries. According to the airport, the flight was expected to arrive in Beijing at 7:41 p.m. but landed in Wuhan at 6:36 p.m.

All luggage was reportedly checked again, and arrangements were made for 150 stranded passengers to transfer to other flights to Beijing.

An initial investigation by aviation authorities indicated that there had been no mechanical failure. A follow-up inspection is underway.

Although this is about the worst time of year to be inconvenienced at an airport, it is a reminder that the aspect of air travel that really matters is safety.


Landing system at Guangzhou airport goes on the fritz, 57 flights affected

Posted: 12/21/2012 7:00 am

More than 1,000 passengers were affected when flights were delayed or cancelled and incoming flights were diverted to Shenzhen or Zhuhai on Tuesday (December 18), China Daily reports. The cause was a breakdown in the instrument landing system.

An instrument landing system is a ground-based approach system providing precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runway, using a combination of radio signals and, in many cases, high-intensity lighting to enable a safe landing. It is illegal to allow a plane to land at an airport where the system isn’t functioning, a pilot told the newspaper.

Airport authorities said 57 flights were affected by the breakdown. Twenty-five flights — 15 arrivals and 10 departures — were delayed for more than an hour.

Ten flights were diverted to Shenzhen and Zhuhai airports while another 10 arrivals were canceled by about 10 pm. Operations at the airport, one of the three busiest in China, returned to normal after midnight.

There has been much dissatisfaction with flight delays and cancellations in China this year. It is common for a flight to be delayed without warning or explanation.

The most notorious case this year was when 20 people blocked the runway at Shanghai Pudong Airport to protest the delay of a Shenzhen Airlines flight.


Shenzhen Airlines’ ‘Star’ turn, Beijing to seize control of Cathay?

Posted: 11/30/2012 7:57 am

In the latest round up of aviation news in the Pearl River Delta, Shenzhen Airlines brings more competition to the tarmac in their new alliance move while Swire’s support of Cathay could fall away if Air China pays a hefty price.

Stars align for Shenzhen Airlines
Shenzhen Airlines, China’s fourth largest carrier, has been handed a “win-win” boost after being accepted into one of global aviation ‘big three’ alliances.

The move opens up more of the Pearl River Delta as passengers fly to and from China and beyond.

Following parent company Air China, the southern China-based carrier joins Star Alliance, bringing more than 400 flights and 70 destinations to the network.

As reported by, Star CEO Mark Schwab said:

Shenzhen Airlines is China’s fifth largest carrier and strengthens the Star Alliance presence in China and across Asia. Our customers now benefit from improved access throughout the economically important Pearl River Delta and across southern China. At the same time, Shenzhen Airlines gains access to a global network with enhanced benefits for its passengers; truly a win-win situation.

This is good news for the legions of international travelers based in Shenzhen, as the can earn frequent flier miles more easily and reach more destinations with less hassle.

The move also brings Shenzhen in line with the rest of the PRD airports. China Southern and SkyTeam have an iron grip on Guangzhou Baiyun while Cathay Pacific and the Oneworld alliance dominate Hong Kong.

Beijing to seize control of Cathay?
CAPA has a must-read piece on the future ownership of Cathay Pacific. Could Swire, its largest shareholder, be prepared to sell its holding – at the right price – to Air China, which already owns 29.9% of Hong Kong’s flagship carrier?

Here’s what CAPA has to say:

An Air China takeover would be deeply political, and is seemingly not a question of if but when, how and what the competitive response is. Cathay expects Air China’s stake to increase, but Cathay’s board 
must first approve a takeover, which is not expected in the short term. The mood from Swire, Cathay’s largest shareholder (42%) and source 
of senior management – and almost its entire culture – is a firm commitment to Cathay and aviation in greater China but also seems to be that it will sell, but for a premium. As for accepting a takeover, the time may come when Cathay and Swire know that not cooperating with Beijing will yield unfavourable outcomes, as Hong Kong edges closer to becoming more fully a part of China.

It has to be said any takeover bid would be deeply controversial and stoke growing anti-mainland sentiment in the SAR.

Nevertheless, within the ‘big three’ alliances shaking-up their offerings at the moment, a takeover could lead to wider changes in the Delta.



Guy who called in bomb threat to Shenzhen Airlines arrested

Posted: 09/4/2012 7:00 am

Police have arrested a man they believe made a hoax bomb threat last Tuesday which forced a Shenzhen Airlines flight out of the sky.

Flight ZH 9706 took off from Xiangyang Airport in Hubei heading for Shenzhen Bao’an Airport, but made an emergency landing in Wuhan after receiving a “threatening message”.

Needless to say, after a thorough search, no explosives were found and police immediately began investigating the case.

That investigation didn’t take long, as a 29-year-old suspect, Xiong Yi, confessed to making a rogue phone call and was apprehended in a Dongguan hotel.  He was subsequently hauled up to Wuhan yesterday.

China Daily has this:

Huang Tingsong, a spokesman for Hubei’s public security department, said Xiong is from Shiyan in the province and does business in Guangdong. He has confessed that he fabricated the bomb story and made the threatening call, according to the Xinhua report.

On Sunday morning, Xiong told reporters waiting at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport that he made the hoax call, adding that he regretted doing it.

Xie Yong, director of public security at the Wuhan airport, was quoted by China National Radio as saying that wrongdoers in such cases face criminal and civic liability.

The bomb hoax became a pressing issue after an Air China flight bound for New York made a u-turn back for Beijing after receiving a ‘threatening message’ only a day before.

Earlier in July, a more serious incident occurred after a hijacking was thwarted in Xinjiang in which six ethnic Uyghur men tried to seize control but were overcome by passengers and crew.


‘Threatening message’ forces emergency landing of Shenzhen Airlines flight

Posted: 08/31/2012 2:29 pm

In the second case in as many days, a Chinese airline has been forced out of the sky after receiving a “threatening message” causing concern and throwing a spotlight on the nation’s ever-expanding industry.

Shenzhen Airlines flight ZH 9706 took off from Xiangyang Airport, in Hubei, last night en-route to Shenzhen, but never arrived. In fact, it never left the province and was diverted to Wuhan.

“At 10:29 p.m. on August 30, 2012, flight ZH 9706 received threatening information after takeoff,” the airline said in a statement posted to Weibo. “To ensure safety, this airline diverted the flight immediately and the plane landed safety at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport at 11:22 p.m. Police have been called in to investigate.”

No one is taking any chances.

In a statement released by the Wuhan airport authority, the threat was made through an anonymous call that forced the emergency landing.

Yesterday’s incident isn’t the first of its kind, or even the first this week. On Wednesday it emerged an Air China flight bound for New York returned to Beijing after receiving a similar message, serious enough for the plane to make a u-turn seven hours into its journey after receiving a tip from US authorities.

The industry is on a heightened sense of alert after a hijacking was thwarted in Xinjiang Autonomous Region in which six ethnic Uyghur men tried to seize control, but were overcome by passengers and crew.

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