Travel News

Airline boss faces fine after letting influencer into cockpit

Airline boss faces fine after letting influencer into cockpit

The head of an Asian airline could be a hit with a large fine after he allowed a YouTuber into his plane’s cockpit following the first flight of a new route.

Chang Kuo-wei, who founded Taiwan-based Starlux Airlines and is also a pilot, flew the firm’s inaugural flight from Taipei to Los Angeles, US, at the end of April 2023.

Members of the press and influencers were also on board, with Australian Sam Chui, who has over three million subscribers to his “aviation and experience” YouTube channel, travelling in first class, reports Taiwan News.

Mr Chui wrote on Facebook: “Not every day the chairman of an airline flies his passengers personally.”

The internet personality also shared a video of his trip on Twitter, even going as far as describing his meal on the plane as “the best steak I’ve ever had”.

But it’s the picture of Mr Chui in the cockpit alongside Mr Kuo-wei that has attracted the attention of aviation authorities.

According to Article 194 of Taiwan’s Aircraft Flight Operation Regulations: “No person may be admitted into the flight crew compartment of an aircraft except for the authorised personnel and flight dispatchers of the operator.”

The case is being investigated by the country’s Civil Aeronautics Administration, with the organisation’s director-general, Lin Kuo-shian, reportedly summoning Starlux’s director of flight operations for an explanation.

If authorities decide that Mr Kuo-wei violated the regulations, he could face a fine of around NT$60,000 (£1,552), according to Simple Flying. A second offence could see a fine of almost £16,000.

The Independent has contacted Starlux Airlines for comment.

The cockpit is a heavily restricted area, and with good reason. Late last year, crew and passengers were forced to restrain a passenger after he “stormed the cockpit” on a flight from Poland to the US.

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