• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:23am

China to face widespread flight delays due to three-week ‘military exercises’

PLA exercises thought to be cause of weeks of disruption in Shanghai, Nanjing and elsewhere

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 5:20pm

Twelve mainland airports, many of them among the busiest, will be hit by widespread delays until the middle of next month because of what are believed to be PLA military exercises.

The mainland's civil aviation regulator yesterday told state radio that flights in and out of airports in the country's east - including Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan - would be affected from last Sunday until August 15 by the "high-frequency drills of another user".

State-run media did not say who was organising the exercises, but it is widely assumed to be the PLA.

Ni Lexiong , a Shanghai-based military affairs commentator, said large-scale military drills centred on the east of the country were needed because it would probably be the first target of any foreign forces attacking China.

Disrupting the operation of 12 civilian airports meant the drills had to be very large-scale, Ni said.

The other affected airports are in Hangzhou, Hefei, Jinan, Wuxi, Ningbo, Qingdao, Lianyungang and Zhengzhou.

Chinese military flight drills could hurt airlines and drive airfares up, analysts say

Between the early hours of Monday and 6pm yesterday, more than 290 flights at Shanghai's two airports were delayed or cancelled. Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines alone had cancelled 22 flights in and out of the affected airports early yesterday morning, the company said.

Airlines would be expected to cut flights out of the affected areas by 25 per cent, state television's finance and economics channel reported on its Weibo.

Repeated calls made to the Ministry of National Defence and the Civil Aviation Administration of China were not answered yesterday.

A spokeswoman for Hong Kong's Airport Authority said it had not received any notice about air traffic controls.

Xinhua reported that the PLA had organised 10 live ammunition drills for its ground forces at six bases around the country since July 15.

Yue Gang, a retired colonel in the PLA, said it was not surprising that large-scale military drills had been planned.

"The air force has to prepare itself for mass combat where a number of military commands would be involved, especially as regional tensions keep escalating," he said.


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This article is now closed to comments

Just wonder how the militaries in Europe manage to exercise without causing too much inconvenience to the general public. And that's where they even conduct the large NATO exercises involving many different national militaries exercising in a single country.
CCP + PLA come first, then for a long time nothing and at the far end of the tunnel the general public can be seen. That's why Hongkongers don't feel comfortable with the CCP regime controlling Hong Kong. It's not about the citizens, it's all about the party and power.
This is actually progress. Usually they don't make announcements before, during, or after the drills. They just let passengers sit around for hours wondering how much longer the mysterious "air traffic control" delays will go on.

It's a timely reminder of who really runs China. When the PLA wants to play with their toys and indulge their paranoid fantasies, no amount of inconvenience for the general population is too much.
What this demonstrates is the level of regard the Chinese Government (ultimately the Communist Party that pulls all the strings) has for Chinese citizenry. Very little - the Communist Party puts itself faaaarr above the interests of the people, who are objectified as pawns - merely means to ends - disposable cogs in in the great party-controlled machine.
only 3 weeks of delays ?--- and then after that it goes back to what ? the normal 2-6 hour delays to shanghai and beijing? what a joke. This is an excellent example of how to completely mismanage airspace. Poor engineering and planning to the nth degree.
Having grown up during the Cold War in the U.S., I don't recall anything on that scale ever happening in the U.S. The drills were almost always held far away from civilian airspace over places like New Mexico and Nevada.
One more excuse not to go to China. Thank you, PLA.
no problem ? it is a problem. a big problem !
take trains ? sure, --- now the stations have been/will be completely flooded with people - going to worse than chinese new year. but hey ---- let's not bash china here, where the food is always fresh and transportation is slick ---lol
And everyone is wringing their hands that Shanghai will unseat HK as a financial center? Shanghai and the CCP can't even unf*ck TWO airports!
This is so incredibly dumb.
It does not say much for the capabiliites of the Chinese Air Force that they have to be trained in situ in order to be ready. What if attacks come from the mountain side ? or if those pilots trained now are on sick leave when needed, their replacements may not know the exact terrain then. It seems once again that training and learning is based on being able to reproduce rather than act on personel jugement capacities.



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