Opinion / From the Press

An irresponsible captain

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-04 09:01

Passengers on a China United Airlines flight who complained against some fellow passengers for smoking got a rude shock, because instead of asking the smokers to immediately stub out their cigarettes, the captain curtly declared: "They can smoke as long as I agree." Such irresponsible and arrogant behavior of the captain, and the way he defended an illegal act, could lead to serious accidents, says an article on gmw.com. Excerpts:

Smoking is banned on all passenger flights not only because of health reasons but also because of safety concerns. About an hour after the plane took off from Chengdu, Sichuan province, for Beijing, a male passenger was found smoking in the toilet. He was told to hand over his cigarettes and matchbox to a flight attendant. Two hours later when the plane was parked at Taiyuan, Shanxi province, after being diverted because of bad weather, five passengers were seen smoking on the stairs. This raised safety concerns among other passengers because the fuel tank was right below them.

But most shockingly, when they asked the captain to stop the people from smoking, he rudely replied that, "they can smoke ...". In doing so, he put the safety of the plane and passengers in danger.

The aviation security law says a person who smokes on a plane can be deplaned, arrested and/or fined. According to the regulation of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, passengers are prohibited from carrying lighters or matches on civilian flights. In fact, when the plane landed in Taiyuan, police suggested that the passengers go through the security check again but the captain said, "It's not necessary." The captain should have known that turning a blind eye to safety rules is an unlawful act and deserves punishment.

The incident has exposed the indifference of the civil aviation industry. The captain defending the smokers, the negligence of security personnel in allowing passengers to carry matches and lighters on board, and the concession granted by police to the crew and passengers (skipping the security check) are all violations of rules and could lead to disasters.


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