China seeks whistleblowers to plug safety loopholes

China seeks whistleblowers to plug safety loopholes

BEIJING Reuters -- China's aviation regulator is seeking whistleblowers from the industry's frontline workers to plug any safety loopholes, part of the government's efforts to ensure safety after two recent major accidents including the deadly China Eastern crash.

In a document issued on May 19, the Civil Aviation Administration of China CAAC has urged frontline workers and grass root management officials to report their findings to airlines to prevent any safety hazards, as they are usually the first to notice weak links.

It is important that we fully mobilise the vast number of frontline personnel - to be willing and dare to be a safety 'whistle blower, which would be crucial in reversing the current unfavourable situation and maintaining the stable operations of the industry safety, the CAAC said on Friday.

On March 21, China Eastern flight MU 5735 plunged into the mountains of Guangxi and killed 132 people on board in China's deadliest aviation disaster for 28 years. It led the CAAC to conduct sector-wide inspections to find potential safety lapses.

A Tibet Airlines plane caught fire on the ground less than two months later, after pilots aborted a take-off in the southwestern city of Chongqing. Hundreds of passengers were injured in time, but all were evacuated in time.

China has maintained its strong safety record for more than a decade, and is a firm believer in aviation safety. After two fatal crashes, the CAAC was the first regulator to ground the Boeing 737 MAX.

The whistleblowers would be rewarded and their identity would be protected through confidentiality agreements, according to the CAAC on Friday.