Pudong International Airport was fined 80,000 yuan (US$ 11,963) after a lapse in security allowed a teenager from Sichuan to stow aboard a plane headed for Dubai.
A 16-year-old boy from the Sichuan Province managed to sneak into the cargo-hold of an Emirates Airline flight that took off on May 26. The stowaway, surnamed Xu, defeated the airport’s security measures by scaling a 10-meter fence. He waited on the tarmac until the coast was clear before slipping into the cargo hold when no-one was looking.
10 hours later the boy was detained in Dubai and after questioning by local authorities was sent back to China. Since the boy is only a minor, it is unlikely that he will face serious charges.
“It is lucky the teenager was not a terrorist,” Huang Quan, a legal professor with the Civil Aviation University of China, told China Central Television. “The fence, security guards and surveillance cameras, which are the three major security measures at the airport, all became invalid in the incident.”
His incentive for boarding the aircraft was to try his luck as a beggar on the golden streets of Dubai. The boy had heard rumors that even the worst of beggars could earn up to 480,000 yuan ($72,900) a month.
In addition to the fine, the airport had previous been banned from applying for any new routes or charter flights.
“Shanghai Airport Authority has been found violating the civil aviation safety regulation after an investigation into the stowaway incident,” said a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
The company said that they were working to improve facilities and management to ensure the safety of all passengers.
By Robin Winship