China shuts Taizhou airport after arson attack on plane

The inside of the cabin of a Shenzhen Airlines flight after a man tried to set fire to the cabin as it was landing in southern China on 26 July 2015.
The inside of the cabin of a Shenzhen Airlines flight after a man tried to set fire to the cabin as it was landing in southern China on 26 July 2015.PHOTO: WEIBO/@SQSHANE
The inside of the cabin of a Shenzhen Airlines flight after a man tried to set fire to the cabin as it was landing in southern China on 26 July 2015.
The inside of the cabin of a Shenzhen Airlines flight after a man tried to set fire to the cabin as it was landing in southern China on 26 July 2015.PHOTO: WEIBO/@SQSHANE
The inside of the cabin of a Shenzhen Airlines flight after a man tried to set fire to the cabin as it was landing in southern China on 26 July 2015.
The inside of the cabin of a Shenzhen Airlines flight after a man tried to set fire to the cabin as it was landing in southern China on 26 July 2015.PHOTO: WEIBO/@SQSHANE

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Chinese authorities have suspended operations at a small regional airport in the country's east, state media reported on Wednesday, after an arson attack aboard a local flight left two passengers injured.

A witness told state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) that a man had set fire to a curtain and newspapers in the first class cabin on the flight from the coastal city of Taizhou to the southern metropolis of Guangzhou.

The arsonist boarded the Shenzhen Airlines flight from Taizhou with a knife, lighter and gasoline, despite bans on carrying the items, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing airport and witness reports.

Passengers and crew restrained the man after he tried to start the fire as the plane was landing on Sunday morning, reports said.

Authorities sacked two aviation officials in Taizhou over the incident, Xinhua reported, citing local government officials.

China's civil aviation authority shut down Taizhou's airport on Wednesday, citing "severe safety risks". Xinhua said the closure was temporary, and provided no further details.

The government has set up a blacklist for unruly air travellers after a string of incidents involving passengers disrupting flights.

In some cases, Chinese passengers have attacked crew members in frustration at delays.