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Pilots must pay to quit

THIRTEEN pilots will have to pay China Eastern Airlines 25.9 million yuan (US$3.8 million) to be released from their employment contracts.

The Intermediate People's Court in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province, said six co-pilots will have to pay 2.1 million yuan each to the airline and seven pilots will have to pay 1.9 million yuan each, the Beijing Times reported yesterday.

The 13 pilots sought to quit the company in 2007 to get higher pay and better conditions elsewhere. In October they asked for arbitration by the Lanzhou Human Resources Bureau after the airline refused their requests.

The arbitration authority ordered each of the pilots to pay more than 4 million yuan to the airline. The pilots then took their case to the Chengguan District People's Court of Lanzhou in 2008.

The district court ordered them to pay more than 4.2 million yuan each to the airline. The pilots appealed to the Intermediate People's Court in October last year.

Their famous "no arrivals" helped publicize their case. On March 31 and April 1 last year, 18 China Eastern flights returned to Kunming, capital of southwestern Yunnan Province, soon after taking off, upsetting travel plans for more than 1,000 passengers.


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