Chinese passengers spending more time in airports due to flight delays

Passengers stand in front of information screens that show cancellations and delays of departure flights at Beijing International Airport. Pic: AP

A NEW study by the Civil Aviation Administration of China has revealed that the average delay for Chinese flights is 21 minutes, with poor weather, air traffic control issues, and other “unexplained reasons” cited as causes for delays.

According to The Nanfang, only 68 percent of Chinese domestic flights left on time last year. Because China’s airspace is controled by the military and isn’t prioritized for commercial flights, delayed flights are a common occurrence.

Aviation industry observer Zeng Tao told The Nanfang that the solution would be to open more airspace to civil aviation. “Other efforts made by air traffic management bureaus, airlines and airports have proved to have limited effects,” he added.

Last year, heavy rains were attributed to Shanghai’s “worst ever” case of flight delays and cancelations, which affected over half of all flights.

Delayed flights have brought about their share of disgruntled passengers, including a case of a passenger caught on video launching verbal abuse and hurling food at an airport attendant.

A report on Bloomberg said that Air China and China Eastern Airlines Corp were among the carriers in China set to expand their fleet, which will worsen the country’s air traffic.

The nation’s commercial airline fleet is looking to double in the next two decades to become the world’s biggest travel market.