Latest news, in-depth features and opinion on aviation, with a particular focus on the industry in Hong Kong, mainland China and Asia.

China blocks foreigners as coronavirus center shifts to US and Europe
China will ban most foreigners from entering the country starting at midnight on Friday in an effort to block the spread of the coronavirus through imported cases. Entry visas issued to foreigners will be suspended as an “interim measure,” according to a statement late Thursday by the country’s foreign ministry. “In view of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus epidemic worldwide, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry of foreigners with currently valid visas and residence permits in China,” the ministry said. “The Chinese side will adjust the above measures according to the epidemic situation through separate announcements.” While the global pandemic originated in China months ago
Pilot grounded for life for inviting a woman to the cockpit
A Chinese pilot has been banned from flying for life for allowing a young woman to visit the cockpit. The incident happened on an Air Guilin flight 10 months ago, but the photos taken by the woman – later identified as Chen Yuying, a student who planned to become a flight attendant after graduation – only went viral on Sunday. Chen, a third-year student at Guilin Tourism University, was seen posing in front of a tea set sitting in a pilot’s seat. A caption of the photo reads: “I am super thankful to the pilot! I am so thrilled!” The picture, which was spotted this week on the Weibo social media site by someone working in the airline industry, caused an uproar among aviation specialists. They
What you need to know about Beijing’s shiny new airport
Traveling to Beijing? You will be landing at one of two airports, now that the capital’s highly anticipated Daxing International Airport has opened. Known as PKX to flight insiders, the brand new airport designed by late British architect Zaha Hadid cost $11 billion and took five years to build. If you’re traveling through Beijing, whether you transit through Daxing (pronounced da-SHEEN, as in Charlie Sheen) or the older Capital International Airport will be determined by your airline. US carriers American and Delta, both currently at Capital, have said they’re still evaluating a move, according to travel site The Points Guy. British Airways says its whole operation will be moved to the ne
Beijing’s new ‘starfish’ airport opens for business
China’s new Daxing International Airport in the capital Beijing formally opened for business on Wednesday.   President Xi Jinping presided over the official launch of the new aviation hub, just days before the People's Republic celebrates its 70th anniversary on October 1. British architect Zaha Hadid designed the unique starfish-shaped airport before her death in 2016.
Shanghai plane sets off for Beijing. It lands 17 hours later – at origin
A Beijing-bound flight from Shanghai landed at its origin more than 17 hours after the journey began, as severe thunderstorms at its destination forced the aircraft to turn back twice. The China Eastern Airlines plane took off from Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport at 2:11 am Monday morning, after a five-hour delay, bound for Beijing. The Airbus A330-300 aircraft, carrying 250 passengers, was delayed due to inclement weather in the Chinese capital. More than 400 flights were canceled. About 62 miles from its destination, the flight made a U-turn and returned to Shanghai, landing at the Pudong airport (on the east side of the city) about three hours later, at 4:59 am, according to data provided by
Air China incident highlights stigma against mental illness
China is embroiled in a debate about whether people with a history of mental illness should be allowed to use public transportation, which was sparked by an incident last week at Air China. The airline was criticized after an off-duty employee made a scene during a flight and accused three passengers of attacking her, leading them to be questioned by police for hours after their arrival in Beijing. Later, it emerged that the employee had bipolar disorder. The passengers were eventually released. On China’s Twitter-like Weibo, a poll titled “Should mentally ill patients be allowed to take a flight?” gathered 85,000 votes by Thursday. About 55% of the respondents voted “no,” saying that patie
Beijing’s new Zaha Hadid-designed airport is almost ready
Main construction work on Beijing’s starfish-shaped new mega-airport was completed on Sunday, state media reported.  It’s set to open its doors in September – in time for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1. Designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the Beijing Daxing International Airport is located in the south of the capital. It will be the world’s largest single-terminal airport, with a total investment of about $17.47 billion. Its futuristic, golden terminal spans 7.5 million sq ft, though it is designed to keep walking to a minimum. It is expected to have seven runways eventually and will be able to handle 45 million pas
This abandoned jet could be yours for $795,000
An old Boeing plane abandoned in Hong Kong four years ago by a bankrupt Russian airline is now available to any buyer willing to pay $795,000. The Hong Kong Airport Authority said that the 27-year-old Boeing 767 had no maintenance records and was not in good condition. It added that the successful bidder was required to remove the aircraft within three months, whether as a whole or in parts. In October 2015, Russia’s one-time biggest private airline Transaero collapsed under a mountain of debt. That year, flight UN965 took off from Domodedovo Moscow Airport for Hong Kong, arriving on October 26, a day after the airline’s operating license was revoked. It was Transaero’s last flight, leaving
Capturing the last days of an iconic airport
Like many Hongkongers, photographer Birdy Chu has fond memories of Hong Kong’s Kai Tak airport. Anyone who landed there has a story about the hair-raising descents, which seemed to brush the buildings on the approach to the runway. “I loved that iconic landing,” says Chu, a Hongkonger, who landed there six times. And he loved the airport. “There are so many unforgettable memories surrounding Kai Tak. It has almost legend-like status, like a myth,” says Chu, a former photojournalist who now lectures in media and communications at the City University of Hong Kong. In July 1998, the airport, which had started in 1925 as a humble airfield, closed for good, moving operations overnight to the gli
Inkstone answers: why China can’t build a good jet engine and more
China wants to become a high-tech superpower. One of the hardest parts of that ambition? Getting airborne. We asked our newsletter subscribers what they wanted to know about China’s aviation industry. Here are the answers to questions on everything from China’s equivalent to the Air Force One, to why a country that has launched lunar probes and built aircraft carriers has yet to develop an engine for commercial jetliners. Subscribe to our newsletter and let us know what else you want to know about. Q: When President Xi flies, does he have access to a special plane? A: Communist Party leaders do not have personal jets like Air Force One (or Air Force Un). Instead, they take specially kitted-o