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Hainan Said to Get Flight-Cut Order for Pilot-Rest Breach

Hainan Airlines Co., China’s fourth-biggest carrier, was ordered to cut services after pilots and cabin crew violated rest rules, according to a notice from the aviation regulator obtained by Bloomberg News.

The airline will have to reduce monthly flying by 15 percent from December’s amount, beginning this week, according to the April 18 statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s central and southern branch. The duration of the limit will depend on how quickly the carrier improves standards, the announcement said. The CAAC circulated the notice to all of the nation’s airlines, according to an April 24 cover letter.

Hainan Air is taking steps after some staff didn’t get enough rest in the first quarter because of the Lunar New Year holiday travel season and disruptions caused by bad weather, parent HNA Group said in an e-mailed reply to Bloomberg News questions. The Haikou, Hainan-based carrier has received a notice from the regulator, HNA said, without elaborating.

“Hainan Air attaches great importance to the issue and will work to remedy faults,” said HNA, which is controlled by the government of Hainan province in southern China. “We will closely follow every rule set by the regulator and welcome inspection from people in all walks of life.”

The carrier broke a requirement for personnel to get at least 36 hours of continuous rest every seven days, according to HNA. No one was available for comment at the CAAC, according to a person who answered the phone at the regulator’s head office in Beijing yesterday.

No New Planes

Chinese carriers are boosting efforts to recruit pilots from overseas and spending more on training as they struggle to find enough personnel for growing fleets. The nation will need 70,600 new pilots over 20 years to meet expansion plans and replace retiring crew, according to Boeing Co.

Hainan Air will be limited to 28,755 flying hours a month, according to the notice. The carrier has to present a plan for how it will meet this requirement, which the regulator will then approve. The carrier will also be barred from applying to add new planes this year, according to the notice. HNA affiliates, including Tianjin Air and Joy Air, aren’t covered by the ruling.

Hainan Air will also be fined 29,000 yuan ($4,600) for the violations, which were committed by 33 pilots and 120 flight attendants, according to the notice. Some of the pilots will be fined 800 yuan or have their licenses suspended for two months, the notice said. It didn’t say how many pilots faced each punishment.

HNA also has investments in airports, logistics, shipping and retail businesses.

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