Civil Aviation Administration of China

Civil Aviation Administration of China
Civil Aviation Administration of China
Agency overview
Formed 1949
Jurisdiction  People's Republic of China
Headquarters Dongcheng District, Beijing
Minister responsible Li Jiaxiang, Vice Minister of Transport
Agency executive Li Jiaxiang, Administrator of CAAC
Parent agency Ministry of Transport
Website (Chinese)

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC; simplified Chinese: 中国民用航空局; traditional Chinese: 中國民用航空局; pinyin: Zhōngguó Mínyòng Hángkōng Jú), formerly the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (simplified Chinese: 中国民用航空总局; traditional Chinese: 中國民用航空總局; pinyin: Zhōngguó Mínyòng Hángkōng Zongjú), is the aviation authority under the Ministry of Transport of the People's Republic of China. It oversees civil aviation and investigates aviation accidents and incidents.[1] As the aviation authority responsible for China, it concluded civil aviation agreements with other aviation authorities, including those of the Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China which are categorized as "special domestic". The agency is headquartered in Dongcheng District, Beijing.[2]

The CAAC does not share the responsibility of managing China's airspace with the Central Military Commission under the regulations in the Civil Aviation Law of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国民用航空法). Being subordinate to military traffic, non-commercial civil aviation is rather restricted. General and private aviation in mainland China is relatively rare compared to developed countries.



CAAC was formed on November 2, 1949, shortly after the founding of the People's Republic of China, to manage all non-military aviation in the country, as well as provide general and commercial flight service (similar to Aeroflot in the Soviet Union). It was initially managed by the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

CAAC Ilyushin Il-62 at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport in 1974

In 1963, China departed from its policies of Marxist self-sufficiency with a purchase of six Vickers Viscount aircraft from Great Britain, followed in 1971 with four Hawker Siddeley Trident aircraft from Pakistan International Airlines. In August 1971 the airline purchased six Trident 2E's directly from Hawker Siddeley.[3] The country also placed provisional orders for three Concorde aircraft. With the 1972 Nixon visit to China the country ordered 10 Boeing 707 jets. In December 1973 it took the unprecedented step of borrowing £40 million from Western banks to fund the purchase of 15 additional Trident jets. Russian built Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft were used on long range routes during the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1980 the airline was transferred to the direct control of the State Council.

In 1987 the airline division of CAAC was divided up into a number of airlines, each named after the region of China where it had its hub. Since then, CAAC acts solely as a government agency and no longer provides commercial flight service.

In March 2008, the agency changed its name to Civil Aviation Administration of China (中国民用航空局) and became a subsidiary of the newly created Ministry of Transport.

CAAC as an airline

Founded 1949
Ceased operations 1987 (Split into six airlines)
Hubs Beijing Capital
Shanghai Hongqiao
Guangzhou Baiyun
Chengdu Shuangliu
Xi'an Xiguan (closed in 1991)
Shenyang Taoxian
Destinations 85 Cities, In 25 Countries (As of 1987)
Parent company State Council
Headquarters Beijing, China
Key people Director of the General Office
A CAAC Boeing 747SP at Charles de Gaulle Airport. (1981)
A CAAC Boeing 747-200B at Osaka International Airport, Japan, ca. 1990

CAAC began operating scheduled domestic flights to cities in China in 1949. In 1962, CAAC began operating international services.


In 1987, CAAC split into 6 separate airlines each named after the geographic region of the location of their headquarters and main operation areas:

CAAC used the IATA code CA on international flights only, domestic flights were not prefixed with the airline code.

CAAC aircraft livery featured Chinese national flag on the vertical stabilizer, with blue stripes and Chinese version of CAAC logo (autographed by Zhou Enlai) on a white fuselage.

CAAC's fleet In 1987

General aviation

Fleet retired before 1987

Major incidents

  • On April 26, 1982, CAAC Flight 3303, A Hawker Siddeley Trident2E, crashed into a mountain while on approach to Guilin, killing all 112 people on board.
  • On December 24, 1982, a CAAC Ilyushin Il-18B burst into flames while on approach to Guangzhou, killing 25 of the 69 passengers on board.
  • On May 5, 1983, a CAAC aircraft was hijacked and landed at a U.S. military base in South Korea. The incident marked the first direct negotiations between South Korea and China, which did not have formal relations at the time.
  • On January 18, 1985, a CAAC Antonov An-24 crashed on approach to Jinan, killing 38 of the 41 on board.

See also

Affiliated universities


  1. ^
  2. ^ "English." Civil Aviation Administration of China. Retrieved on June 9, 2009. "北京市东城区东四西大街155号."
  3. ^ Tridents for China, Flight International, 2 September 1971, p. 348

External links

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