New policy to slash flight delays

By Wen Ya Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-31 23:43:06

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) confirmed to the Global Times Wednesday it has introduced a new policy that aims to contain massive flight delays caused by air traffic controls across the country.

The policy, which took effect on July 18, states that flights departing from the eight busiest airports on the Chinese mainland including Beijing Capital, Shanghai Hongqiao and Pudong, and Guangzhou Baiyun should not be delayed due to air traffic controls, a director surnamed Wang from the Party committee of the CAAC's Air Traffic Management Bureau told the Global Times.

However, the policy, one of the 10 counter-delay measures proposed by the bureau at a recent conference, does not apply to delays caused by bad weather and military activities.

The bureau said that an increasing number of flights have been able to take off and land on time recently after the policy took office. The punctuality rate at Beijing airport saw an increase of 15 to 20 percentage points, the Beijing News reported Wednesday.

"As the policy has only been implemented for a short period and the recent weather conditions have not been stable, we still need time to observe the real effects," said Wang.

The flights to and from the eight airports account for 50 percent of the total across the country, Li Xiaojin, a professor with the Civil Aviation University of China, told the Global Times.

"The policy is significant in raising the efficiency. It means that planes could take off as soon as they close their hatches," Li said. "But it will also influence the small- and medium-sized airports as the eight major ones have taken up a lot of resources."

However, Wang Jiangmin, an aviation expert with the Hefei-based air information portal, told the Global Times that "it's too early to be optimistic."

Though flights from these eight airports can take off earlier, it doesn't necessarily mean they can land on time, Wang said, adding that the flights will be stranded in the sky when the facilities and staffers at destination airports cannot offer enough service.

"They will have to hover waiting for landing, influencing their return flights and costing more oil," he said.

The country's air industry is hindered by its limited resources, including airspace and traffic management, Wang Jiangmin said.

A large majority of China's airspace is controlled by the military, which frequently forbids civilian flights in certain areas when conducting drills.

Generally, since such drills involve military secrets, air carriers usually resort to blaming air traffic controls when explaining the situation to passengers, the Beijing News reported.

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