• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:57am

Chinese airports the worst when it comes to delays

Beijing Capital sinks further in past six months, with just 18pc of flights now departing on time

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 8:30am

Mainland airports and airlines are the worst for on-time departures and arrivals, according to a report that tracks air travel around the world.

More worrying is that their performance actually dropped in the past six months.

Beijing and Shanghai airports rank at the bottom of 35 major international airports surveyed in terms of flight delays and cancellations, according to the latest report by FlightStats, a popular US-based data provider on air travel.

The survey included a separate ranking of Asian airports.

Last month, only 18.3 per cent of the 22,019 flights departing from the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) were on time, FlightStats says in its latest report. It says 42 per cent of them saw delays of 45 minutes or more.

PEK was also the worst in January, with on-time departures at 29 per cent. Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport - the second worst on the list - had its on-time rate drop to 24 per cent from 38.9 per cent six months ago. Its ranking remained unchanged.

Hong Kong International Airport also reported a noticeable increase in flight delays and cancellations. Its ranking had dropped from 22 in January to 29 in June.

Serious delays were not limited to Beijing and Shanghai. None of China's provincial airports surveyed by FlightStats - including Guangzhou, Kunming , Nanjing , Chengdu, Changsha and Urumqi - could manage to get half of their flights on time.

By comparison, most airports in Japan have an on-time rate of 90 per cent or above. Haneda Airport in Tokyo, which tops the list, boasts 95 per cent, three points higher than six months ago.

Chinese airline performance was equally disappointing. China United Airlines had just 27 per cent of its flights arriving on time. It was closely followed by Xiamen and Shanghai airlines.

Large national carriers such as Air China and China Southern also reported massive delays. Mainland experts attribute the problem to excessive military control of the airspace and poor urban planning.

"Nearly 80 per cent of China's airspace has been reserved for military use. In other countries, such as the US, the situation is exactly the opposite," a senior executive of Hainan Airlines said.

Nearly 80 per cent of China's airspace has been reserved for military use. In other countries, such as the US, the situation is exactly the opposite

"I am afraid that until a tragedy happens, the military will never be convinced to free up the airspace."

Zou Jianjun , of the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, said the military was not the only reason for the delays.

He said major cities tried to monopolise the aviation business by diverting travellers from nearby cities to their airports.

This created a huge logjam for all major airports in China, while leaving the small-to-medium ones struggling.

Zou said the major airports put excessive stress on increasing passenger flow but did little to improve their management system to handle to rapidly increasing traffic.

"Quantity overrides quality. That is a common issue in China today," he said.

Although Beijing has tried to solve the delay problem for years, little has been achieved.

Serious delays often trigger violent protests. In recent months, there have been frequent reports of angry passengers smashing airline counters and attacking ground staff in an outbursts of anger.

Many have given up air travel altogether and opted for other transport, particularly high-speed rail.



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This article is now closed to comments

I wonder if any of the business chambers in China have ever sought to find out the impact this has on international businessmen and potential investors. One of the reasons that I left Shanghai in 2010 was the fact that both internal and international fklights were so unreliable. Being kept frequently waiting on a plane for several hours in the baking heat, with no aircon and with the passengers going beserk, is more than enough to make anyone reconsider the wisdom of relocating to China.
Such a big country with huge potential but the absolute worst and i mean worst infrastructure of airways and airports in the world. Delays delays delays - and very restrictive air traffic controlling. Don't ever plan a trip to beijing or shanghai or transit without allowing at least a 3-5 hour buffer for possible delays - and that might not even be enough. military controls most of the airspace there. you dont' see the united states with a problem like that and look how many airports they have
8-10hours delay is very usual and normal just in june and july I face these delays
with out any food any compensation and any assistance
any one has the power to speak there?
5000 years and still developing
When we Mainlanders freak out and attack airline staff, please forgive us. We've been well irritated and riled up. It's unfortunate that the people responsible cannot be attacked directly.
I agree with rthk. I went up to Shanghai twice in June and my flight was delayed 6 hrs and 9 hrs on both trips going north. I would consider taking the high speed rail to go to SH from Kowloon station once it's operational from 2015 if this sort of delays persists.
"Zou Jianjun , of the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, said the military was not the only reason for the delays.", right, then please provide more information as to causes, I suspect military is 90% of the problem.
Don't forget the planes that sit on the tarmac for an extra 30-40 minutes waiting for some CCP official that was running late. Communism: where the masses wait for one arrogant p_rick.
Beijing / Shanghai has to be the ONLY cities in the world where rain / thunderstorm can 'delay' regular flight services…!!!
Or that CAAC, aka Civil Aviation Administration of China, is simply too incompetent to handle regular traffic during foul weather?
I’d seen flights take off / land during snow storm and down pour just about everywhere else in the world. What makes Beijing / Shanghai’s weather any different?
When ‘weather’ is being used far too often to justified flight delay, the public, myself included, can’t help but lost faith in such ‘excuse’, especially if it is from the mouth of the CAAC / Chinese Communist Party!!!
CAAC, should be rename to China Airliners Always Canceled instead!!!
On time transportation for the traveling public is clearly NOT in its operational agenda.
As an expat for many years in China, on-time travel in / out of major Chinese cities had worsen so much to the point that one is force to think twice before flying in and out of the PRC!
So much for the “Chinese Dream” as envisioned by President Xi. Until the Chinese Communist Party gets its act together, and places customer service at top of its priority, instead of restricting its air space where the PLA claims as its domain, China can NEVER ascend in becoming a first rate world city!!!
Beijing is building a new airport south of the city with 8 commercial +1 military runways
Shenzhen already building 3rd runway Guangzhou will have 5. As in rest of China PLA controls airspace allocation in PRD. Yet HKG wants a 3rd runway w/o getting allocated landing slots confirmed.
China's 12th Five-Year Plan's goal of building 82 new airports by 2015 will increase China's airport network by nearly 50%. (then how long will the delays be ??)
The main 548,300 m2 terminal of Kunming Changshui Airport is the second largest terminal building in China



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