More than 200 commercial pilots working for Chinese airlines faked their CVs, it was reported today.
More than half of them worked for the parent company of an airline involved in China's worst plane crash in several years, the head of the civil aviation administration was quoted as saying.
The results of investigations in 2008-2009 showed that airlines desperate for staff were hiring pilots whose CVs had been faked, the newspaper China Business News cited Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), as telling a teleconference.
The report comes as the agency investigates safety measures nationwide following a crash on August 24 that killed 42 people at a small airport in the north-east, in China's worst commercial airline disaster in nearly six years.
Another 54 people were injured in the crash of the Brazilian-made Embraer 190 plane belonging to Henan Airlines during a night landing Heilongjiang province.
Calls to CAAC's headquarters in Beijing were unanswered today.
A staffer who answered the phone at Shenzhen Airlines, which reportedly had 103 of the pilots with faked work histories on the payroll, said he had no idea about the report.
Shenzhen Airlines is the parent company of Henan Airlines.
China's aviation industry has expanded rapidly in recent years and regulators have struggled to keep up.
Airports have proliferated as have small regional airlines, reaching into remote cities like Yichun - 90 miles from the Russian border - that are eager to develop tourism and other industries.