Yang Yuanyuan was born in 1950 in Heyang, Shanxi Province. He joined the PLA in 1966 and studied at the PLA Second Reserve School and Senior Flight School of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Yang spent his entire career within the Civil Aviation Administration of China, serving as a manager at both the national and provincial levels. In 2002, he became director of general administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
Yang was a member of the 16th CPC Central Committee and is now a member of the 17th CPC Central Committee. In 2008, he became Deputy Director of the State Administration of Work Safety.