Over 2,600 flights cancelled across China due to bad weather amid travel peak
Published: May 03, 2021 09:30 PM
Photo: Yu Tianjiao

Passengers heading to Beijing were stranded at Xingyi Wanfenglin airport on May 3, 2020. Photo: Yu Tianjiao

Due to thunderstorms in central, southeast and southwest China, more than 2,600 flights were cancelled across China on Monday, the third day of the country’s five-day Labor Day holiday, causing serious disruptions for air travelers at several major airports. 

According to Umetrip, a travel app developed by TravelSky Technology Limited, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, a total of 2,613 flights were canceled as of around 7 pm on Monday.

Widespread cancellations or delays are reported at major airports, including the Beijing’s Daxing International Airport and the Beijing Capital International Airport.

A passenger surnamed Yu who booked a flight ticket from Xingyi, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province to Beijing said that she has been waiting at the airport for seven hours.

“Airport employee asked us to call the airplane company, who hasn’t answered our call yet. And the airport did not give us any comfort during our waiting… nor provided guidance for us,” said Yu, describing the scene as “chaotic” as outraged passengers engaged in arguments with airport staff.

Another passenger who planned to fly from Beijing to Chongqing, whose flight got canceled said “this really dampened my enthusiasm for traveling.”

Some passengers also turned to social media to express their frustration. The Hashtag “A total of 38 flights have been canceled at Beijing’s Daxing airport” and “19  in Beijing Capital International Airport” were soon trending on Sina Weibo.

Some asked for explanations for the unexpected cancellations as the weather in Beijing and Guangzhou was suitable for takeoff and landing. 

In response, the Beijing Capital International Airport said that they “are racing against the thunderstorm.” “There’s no thunder in Beijing, nor Guangzhou, but thunder is all over the route,” said the airport.

The National Meteorological Center issued a blue warning for a rainstorm in central, southeastern, and southwestern China on Monday. Sandstorms are also expected in several areas in the Northwest.

China has seen a record-breaking travel wave this holiday as the country has kept  the coronavirus disease at bay and the economy has gathered a strong momentum of growth. Officials estimate that some 265 million trips would be made during the holiday.

On Sunday, the second day of the holiday, the country’s transport system saw a total of around 51.59 million passenger trips, up 127.2 percent from the same period last year, according to official data on Monday.

Weather conditions have also affected other travels. On Saturday, the first day of the five-day holiday, several high-speed railway trains from Beijing to multiple cities were delayed, and 16 were canceled due to strong winds which caused a power outage. Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded at the railway station. Train services resumed on Sunday morning.