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China Punishes Airline for Crew Fight That Left Flight Attendant With a Broken Arm

China Punishes Airline for Crew Fight That Left Flight Attendant With a Broken Arm

China’s Donghai Airlines has been slapped with a ban on adding any new routes, flights or capacity as punishment for a mid-air fight between two crew members that left a flight attendant with a broken arm and the pilot with a bloodied mouth and missing tooth. The punishment will take effect immediately and for an indefinite period of time.

The incident made headlines around the world after details emerged of the bizarre fistfight onboard a Donghai Airlines domestic flight between the eastern city of Nantong to Xianyang in Shannaxi province.

Local media outlets reported that the fight erupted because the pilot had reprimanded the lead flight attendant because he didn’t move a passenger out of the galley area so that the pilot could use the lavatory.

China’s Caixin Media Group suggested the head steward was most at fault because he put flight safety at risk by failing to remove the passenger.

It’s still not clear how the flight attendant ended up with a broken arm or how the pilot came to lose a tooth. The fight took place with just 50-minutes of the flight left to go.

Donghai Airlines suspended both crew members pending an investigation and on Monday China’s civil aviation regulator said it has concluded its own inquiry into the incident.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the pilot would have his licence revoked, while the flight attendant will receive “corresponding administrative punishment” according to a Reuters report.

Donghai Airlines currently operates a fleet of 23 Boeing 737 aircraft but the Shenzhen-based airline had plans to rapidly expand over the next few years. The carrier started as a freighter-only operation in 2006 and expanded to offer passenger services in 2014.

Before the pandemic, Donghai Airlines was planning to launch long-haul international services in 2021 and to expand to a fleet of over 100 aircraft by 2025.

Photo Credit: Markus Mainka /

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