Over 2,600 flight attendants will be trained in the ancient Chinese fighting technique, with the first group of 20
cabin crew recently completing the course.
To control the risk and assist with detaining any potential threats, cabin crew will become the first line of defence in emergency situations, as they are able to wrestle and fight using their training to ensure the safety of passengers.
China Eastern Airlines has a fleet of 355 wide- and narrow-body aircraft that carry approximately 70 million travellers a year to 182 destinations from their main hub, Shanghai, with connections to Asia, Europe, America and Oceania.
China Eastern is not the only airline taking up training of martial arts.
The much smaller Hong Kong Airlines (it has 15 aircraft but plans to add 100 more over the next few years) said all staff had been invited to undergo training in wing chun – a form of kung fu used in close combat – but that it was only compulsory for cabin crew, the territory’s Sunday Morning Post reported.
The airline had around three incidents involving disruptive passengers every week, said Eva Chan, the carrier’s deputy general manager of corporate communication.
Two weeks ago a crew member had to put her martial arts training into practice on a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong.
“One of the passengers was sick but he was probably drunk and felt unwell.
“The crew member attended to him and she realised her fitness was helping her, especially because the guy was quite heavy,” Ms Chan told the newspaper.