The next time you need to fly within China, make sure it's not with Shenzhen Airlines.
It was recently found that more than half of the pilots or some 200 of them faked their resumes while applying for jobs in 2008-09. It was during this period that China's airline industry was taking off, but there weren't enough qualified pilots at the time.
The investigation into the fake pilots happened before the August 24 crash of a Henan Airlines plane while attempting to land at night in Yichun, Heilongjiang Province. In a fog, the plane completely missed the runway, killing 42 and injuring 54. The crash was considered to have such a bad reflection on Henan Province that the authorities forced the airline to change its name back to Kunpeng Airlines, whose parent company is Shenzhen Airlines.
Nevertheless, it's certainly frightening to hear more than half of the pilots in Shenzhen Airlines are not qualified pilots at all -- and what about pilots working for other Chinese airlines? Are they qualified to fly a plane too?
Obviously there are not enough personnel checks being done by the human resources department, or could it be guanxi? Knowing someone could easily get you a job as a pilot and be able to have a lifestyle glamourized in the movie Catch Me If You Can.
In any case, hopefully the Chinese will quickly suss out who should be piloting the plane and who shouldn't -- not only for the benefit of the airlines, but for customers too.