Beijing airport grounds flights over thunderstorms

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 11:04am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 July, 2013, 2:48pm

Dozens of flights were either delayed or cancelled at Beijing’s Capital International Airport (BCIA) on Tuesday morning due to heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Some 70 domestic flights to and from Beijing were affected by the storms and at least 12 international flights were called off, according to the airport’s real-time flight tracker.

Cancelled international departures from Beijing include commercial flights to Singapore, Moscow, Vienna, San Francisco, Vientiane and Hong Kong. Additionally, 29 domestic flights and four international flights were delayed at BCIA as of 10am.

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific, as well as its subsidiary Dragonair, issued statements warning customers of potential delays on flights in and out of the airport due to air traffic control as a result of adverse weather. They advised customers to check their flight status before departure and to enter contact details on their online booking systems.

Listed as cancelled on the BCIA website on Tuesday morning were Cathay Pacific flight CX6875 and Dragonair flight KA903 (Beijing - Hong Kong) as well as CX6874, KA906D and KA902 (Hong Kong - Beijing). Air China flights CA6511 and CA6512 were also cancelled, according to BCIA.

The storms, which began on Sunday, grounded at least 60 flights between Beijing and Shanghai on Monday, one of the busiest domestic routes in the country. Nearly all the departures and arrivals between the two cities were delayed, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.

The Beijing Meteorological Administration issued a yellow alert for thunderstorms and a blue alert for rainstorms on Monday, warning residents to be prepared for adverse weather from Monday night to Wednesday.

China operates a four-colour-coded warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Beijing has seen 19 rainy days since June, with cumulative precipitation reaching 178mm, an increase of 57.5 per cent from the same period last year.

Last Friday, thousands of passengers were left stranded at Shanghai’s two airports after more than 100 flights were cancelled due to brewing thunderstorms in eastern China.