• Fri
  • Jul 11, 2014
  • Updated: 11:47am

Chinese airlines to face tough penalties for delays

Six-month crackdown will see warnings handed out, with companies at risk of losing flight slots for poor service that brings passenger protests

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 July, 2013, 5:31am

The mainland's civil aviation watchdog has vowed to tackle the problem of flight delays by hitting airlines with tough penalties.

Li Jiaxiang, of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), was cited by its website as telling a conference on Thursday that a six-month crackdown would be launched.

The administration would also increase penalities on related parties that cause delays.

Domestic airlines will receive internal warnings if their on-time flight rankings are in the bottom 20 of all airlines, or if flight delays occur more than half the time, according to details of the meeting reported by The Beijing News.

If the delays were caused by air traffic control, airports, fuelling delays or other causes outside the airlines' control, the parties responsible would be penalised following an official investigation.

In the case of delays or poor service that trigger serious protests by passengers, airlines risk losing all their flight slots in the current season and will lose the right to apply for flight slots in the next season, The Beijing News added.

The stricter rules were announced amid rising public complaints about flight delays.

A recent survey by FlightStats, a US-based airport statistics tracker, said Beijing and Shanghai airports had the worst record for on-time departures and arrivals among 35 major international airports. Hong Kong came 29th. FlightStats noted that 230 Air China flights were cancelled on Monday this week.

On Tuesday, 233 flights were cancelled at Beijing Capital International Airport and 1,126 flights were delayed by more than four hours.

"It's hard to blame an airport or an airline alone when flight delays happen," said Cui Kai, of the Beijing Capital International Airport news centre.

"The CAAC controls the order of take-offs and landings. The Military controls the airspace. And there's also the impact of the weather."

Cui confirmed that Beijing Capital International Airport had been notified of CAAC's stricter penalties for flight delays.

In response, the airport is mobilising its resources to ensure its facilities are in good order, and that service teams are available to guide stranded travellers and to minimise complaints and violent incidents.

The head of Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday attributed the company's fluctuating on-time performance record to unfavorable weather conditions and increased activity last month.

"We had quite a few bad weather days both here in Hong Kong and certainly in China, so that's a big part of the issue," chief executive officer John Slosar said.

"It's a busy time. Hong Kong is busy. The mainland is busy. When the weather disrupts [aviation] it makes it all the more difficult for things to run smoothly."

There has been an increase in violent incidents related to flight delays in the mainland.

On July 6, three Shanghai passengers angry about a delay attacked ground service workers. They were arrested and fined.

Professor Fu Song, vice-dean of the school of aerospace at Tsinghua University, said: "The key reason for frequent flight delays is excessive air traffic.

"Airlines should decrease the number of flights. And Beijing could build its third airport."

Additional Reporting by Bryan Harris


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"The key reason for frequent flight delays is excessive air traffic."
Thank you Professor Fu for stating this. Its a shame that regional airline chiefs and airport operators lack the intelligence to understand this.
Isn't it ironic that only a report is wreaking havoc in China's aviation, the delay problem has been so well known for more than 20 years. Now we will see more planes sitting on the tarmac as once the plane moves it is counting as on-time. This is a typical Chinese solution again hiding truths and blaming the wrong guy for the real problem. The roots of the problems are limited airspace (only 20%) and incompetent pilots deterred for takeoffs at the least possible sign of bad weather conditions.
This Li Jiaxiang must be one of those idiot confucius minded officials that is good for nothing. Just trying to create some noise as if he is doing something. In China, if you board the plane and they close the cabin door on time, however you have to wait in the plane for 2+ hours, it is not considered a delay from a departure perspective. Most of the reason they gave for the delay is not true, mostly it is due to the military not releasing the airspace. With idiot like this, how can this so called strong country ever be organized? This Li Jiaxiang dude is a big joke!!!
Since the Chinese military control air space and do not allow commerical flights to be in the air at the same time as their planes, its highly unlikely the government will penalize PLA for causing flight delays. Right now, Commercial planes load, close doors then are pulled back where they wait anywhere from 30 min to 9 hours before getting clearance to fly, making people as angry has hornets (and we already know that Chinese become very physical when they are delayed). No this latest announcement is meant for all of us outside China, as locals do not believe it anymore than the Chinese government. Its a media ploy at best.
Naah, this announcement is because this Li dude wants some attention and brownie points to kiss his bosses a$$ so that he can get a promotion next time round. Very typical!!!! Just like you said, how can you penalize the PLA???
@ " "We had quite a few bad weather days both here in Hong Kong and certainly in China, so that's a big part of the issue," chief executive officer John Slosar said.................
Well you had better get used to it. It ain't go'nna improve.
Suggest you buy a train ticket if you really want arrive in time for that conference on the Mainland.
lol.....so you mean the CAAC is going to penalize the chinese military everytime there is a delay caused by their inefficiency ? ok....right !!! what a joke
Airlines..... eat your heart out!
Wait for the Hong Kong - China High Speed rail link.................. coming soon.
And if your favourite airline has just ordered Dreamliners, they now come marked on the package "Batteries not included"
John Adams
It was not always so.
A few years ago almost every China internal flight left on time ( and I have flown daily in China for 25 years)
I only hope that the big push to improve on-time flights does not compromise flight safety, which is No 1 priority
Better late than dead !


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