This story definitely gets filed under ‘not what you want to hear.’ While investigating China’s worst plane crash in several years, Chinese officials dug up some very disturbing information: more than 200 licensed pilots got their jobs using faked resumes.
According to PostMedia News, about half of them flew for Shenzhen Airlines, the parent company of the Henan Airlines plane that crashed August 24th, killing 42 and injuring 52 passengers and crew when it came down short of the runway in Heilongjiang province. Authorities are still investigating the cause of that crash which shattered China’s nearly six-year-long accident-free air safety record. So, while quite disturbing, these guys obviously did know how to fly pretty well if they all managed to get on and off the ground safely over that period of time.
The resume scam was announced recently at an aviation safety conference. It involves pilots hired from 2008 to 2009 when China’s airline industry was expanding at breakneck speed and the lack of experienced pilots was a major problem.
In 2006, China had just 11,000 airline pilots. Now, however, the Civil Aviation Administration of China says the number has swelled to 20,535. Insiders say many of the new recruits came from China’s secretive military, and it was easy for them to exaggerate their flying experience without much fear of being caught.
The official People’s Daily said some aviation schools were also complicit in the scam and helped students fake their flying experience in order to get jobs so their schools would gain prestige and attract more students.
The CAAC has now widened its inquiry to include all the country’s pilots as well as airplane mechanics, trainers and others involved in airline safety. Most of the pilots who were caught fudging resumes have been grounded until their skills can be reassessed.