CAAC issued an "Emergency Airworthiness Directive" on 15-Mar-2010, reportedly affecting over 450 B737-600/700/700C/800/900/900ER aircraft (operated by domestic airlines including Air China, China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines, China Southern and Xiamen Airlines), due to concerns over the tail flap mechanism on the aircraft, and requiring operators to performance immediate safety inspections on the affected aircraft (chinadaily/National Business Daily/People's Daily Online, 18-Mar-2010). CAAC ordered all domestic airlines to report the result of inspections within ten days. CAAC's directive follows a similar directive issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 12-Mar-2010, ordering the same series of B737 aircraft to be checked for loose elevator tabs caused by fractured mounting lugs that help control the tail flaps. Boeing's China branch stated it has informed its Chinese customers about the problem and will provide technical support.
CAAC issues Emergency Airworthiness Directive covering more than 450 B737NG aircraft
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China and Australia remove airline growth restrictions as China cautiously embraces open skies
China has agreed to liberalise passenger flights and remove capacity restrictions with Australia, its largest outbound long haul market after the United States. This is a relief to Chinese airlines, which face bilateral constraints in North America and Europe. The result is already evident as Chinese airlines deploy more capacity and larger aircraft to Australia.
In North American and European markets the local governments hold back on traffic right expansion (let alone open skies). But for Australia it was the Australian government, which signalled some years ago that it wanted to liberalise once China was ready – a time that has now come.
Australia's view was progressive and detached from bygone days of national carrier interest; Chinese airlines hold 90% of the market to Australia. Elsewhere many governments still hold back on Chinese traffic right expansion so their local airlines can continue to grow. There are 15 Chinese airports that have nonstop flights to Australia with a total of 27 airport pairs – figures that should expand in 2017 as the market evolves further with the Virgin Australia-HNA partnership.
China-UK air service agreement permits growth as Chinese airlines constrained in most other markets
An agreement between China and the UK to more than double their air service agreement is good timing for both sides. Chinese airlines are finding an imbalance: they are taking delivery of widebody aircraft and more Chinese airlines are flying long haul but traffic rights to major markets – the US, Canada, Germany and France – are becoming depleted. Negotiations to add traffic rights have not succeeded, typically due to the foreign side being concerned about accessing Chinese slots or Russian overflight rights.
The agreement with the UK to expand the number of weekly passenger flights from each side from 40 to 100 reflects considerable pragmatism on the part of the UK: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not growing in China, and China is a large growth opportunity. The UK has lagged on Chinese tourism. It was only in 2015 that China became the UK's largest inbound market.