Chinese airliner aborts takeoff and catches fire, causing minor injuries

BEIJING, May 12 (Reuters) – China’s Tibet Airlines said all passengers and crew had been evacuated from an Airbus (AIR.PA) A319 plane that caught fire on Thursday after an aborted takeoff in the city of Chongqing, in the southwest of the country.

There were no fatalities and only minor injuries among the 113 passengers and nine crew on board, the airline said in a statement.

The incident came less than two months after the fatal crash of a China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) plane led the country’s aviation regulator to launch a safety campaign.

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Unverified video on social media showed a plane from Tibet Airlines, a subsidiary of Air China (601111.SS), with thick smoke and flames pouring from the left side of the plane as passengers and the crew were moving away.

The aircraft involved is a nine-year-old A319, one of the smaller versions of the A320 family. It is powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric (GE.N) and Safran (SAF.PA), according to Airfleets.net.

Tibet Airlines is a regional airline based in Lhasa. It has a fleet of 39 planes, including 28 A319s, according to Airfleets.net.

On March 21, a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 (600115.SS) with 132 people on board crashed in the mountains of southern China, killing everyone on board. So far, there are few clues about the cause of the accident. Read more

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Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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