Emirates Airline has said it would “never compromise on the safety of our passengers and crew.”
A spokesperson of the Dubai’s government-controlled airline made the remarks in a statement after China suspended Emirates from adding new destinations and aircraft in China over the next six months, due to two of its flights had unsafe operations.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has imposed a fine of 29,000 yuan (about 4,270 U.S. dollars) on the airline.
“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 Emirates spokesperson said .
The two incidents occurred on April 17 and May 18 in the airspace of the city of Urumqi in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The first incident involved an Emirates plane flying at a wrong height, and in the second incident, its aircraft temporarily lost contact with air traffic control.
The CAAC has held Emirates crew members responsible for both incidents, and summoned senior officials of the airline, but did not provide further information.
“Regarding the specific incidents on April 17 and May 18, Emirates will cooperate fully with the CAAC and complete all actions recommended by the authority,” said the Emirates spokesperson.
Emirates flies to five destinations in China, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Yinchuan and Zhengzhou.
Emirates Chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said on April 25 at the annual tourism fair Arabian Travel Market in Dubai that the biggest carrier in the Middle East was keen on expanding its route network in China. China is an important source and growth market for tourism in the UAE and for Dubai in particular.
In 2016, approximately 540,000 Chinese visitors flocked to Dubai, a 20-percent increase year on year, according to Dubai’s official tourism authority DTCM.
In the first quarter of 2017, 230,000 overnight visitors from China came to the emirate, up 64 percent year on year.
Since the end of 2016, Chinese nationals do not need to apply for a UAE tourism visa, as they are granted a visa-on-arrival at UAE international airports.
China has also been the biggest trade partner of the Gulf Arab sheikhdom since 2014.