Plot hole: This film is set in 2004. The thought that no search and rescue operations would be put in place after an aircraft disappeared from radar during a routine flight is absurd. The Chinese are paranoid about intrusion on their territory and the downed aircraft would have been located by a simple satellite search within hours of it crashing. Chinese military satellites crisscross the Gobi and they are equipped with optical cameras, microwave and infrared detectors and radar, so spotting a metal aircraft on the ground would be simple even if it was hundreds of kilometres off course. The crew would have been visited by Chinese military helicopters (and probably arrested!) as soon as the storm had died down.
The crew finishes building the new plane (Phoenix) and just as they're about to take off, the gang of bandits appear and attack. Before take off, the plane's rudder is damaged by a bullet and Elliot (Giovanni Ribisi) fixes the problem. The Phoenix takes off and flies successfully and before the end credits through a series of photos we see what became of the crew when they made it back into civilization: Towns (Dennis Quaid) and A.J. (Tyrese Gibson) start their own airline (appropriately named Phoenix), Sammi and his wife start their own restaurant (Jeremy and Rady are there to celebrate), Liddle is reunited with his wife and kids, Ian (Hugh Laurie) becomes a professional golf player, Kelly (Miranda Otto) is working at at an ocean oil rig and Elliot is on a magazine cover with the headline "the future of NASA?"
A.J.: Listen up. We got a major problem. Looks like we have to make an emergency landing. Make sure you're strapped in, and if you believe in God, it's time to call in a favor.
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