Chinese pilot sacked after telling passengers to get off plane to protest flight delay

Passengers play with a shuttlecock as they wait for their flight to take off.
Passengers play with a shuttlecock as they wait for their flight to take off.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

YUNNAN - A pilot for Chinese carrier Lucky Air has been sacked after telling passengers to get off a flight bound for Kunming, Xinhua has reported.

The incident occurred in the wee hours of the morning on Monday (Nov 28) at Xishuangbanna Gasa International Airport in Yunnan. Flight 8L9917 had been scheduled to depart at 12.05am but the pilot announced at 12.40am that another airline's flight had been given higher priority for take-off.

"He said that this was not the first time this had happened and that he hoped that everyone would disembark and get an explanation from the airport authorities, given the temporary delay," Xinhua quoted a passenger surnamed Guo as saying.

Mr Guo said that many passengers hung about on the tarmac and some even played with a shuttlecock that they had brought with them.

"Some airport security personnel tried to stop them, but the passengers ignored it," he said.

The pilot informed passengers around 1am that the situation had been resolved, and asked them to board the plane once more - but this time, some passengers refused to get on.

The flight finally left at 3am and reached Kunming 50 minutes later.

Lucky Air said on Wednesday (Nov 30) that the pilot had been relieved of duty. It said that it was investigating the incident and would hold internal training to ensure that no similar incidents happen in the future.