China's aviation regulator on Wednesday confirmed nearly 200 pilots had falsified their work histories, but said the problems were resolved in 2008 and warned future violations would be dealt with severely.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China, in a notice on its website, said officials had spoken of the problem to demonstrate the importance the agency places on safety, as it carries out an investigation into an Aug. 24 crash, the country's worst in several years.
It was the first official comment by CAAC about the allegations since the newspaper China Business News reported Monday that 200 pilots working for airlines desperate for staff at a time of fast industry expansion had falsified their resumes.
The report cited Li Jiaxiang, head of the CAAC as making the comment during a recent teleconference.
CAAC's statement said 192 pilots were found to have engaged in work for which they did not have the required experience and that the administration had "severely dealt with the situation" in 2008.
Li's comments were meant as a warning for the industry, it said.
"China's regulations do not tolerate any acts of fraud and any discovery of such problems in the future will be dealt with severely," it said. No such problems had been discovered recently, the notice said.
The China Business News report said that 103 of the pilots whose qualifications were found to be faked were employed by Shenzhen Airlines, the parent company of the carrier involved in the Aug. 24 crash, which killed 42 people and injured 54. But the CAAC statement did not mention that allegation.
It said pilot qualifications were among the key issues being examined in the current probe into that accident.