Fewer flight delays in future? Nasa signs deal to help China improve air traffic management

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 1:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 September, 2016, 8:03pm

Nasa has signed an agreement with the Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE) to cooperate on research that will help China’s airports improve their management of air traffic, the US space agency said on Wednesday.

China is the world’s fastest growing aviation market but passengers often have to cope with long flight delays.

Its aviation authorities routinely name and shame airports for poor management, slapping them with penalties such as bans on new flights.

The memorandum of understanding will see the two agencies use data from Chinese airports to identify potential efficiencies in air traffic management, with a view to improve air transportation automation for US and Chinese aviation operations in the country.

Long airport wait increases: average Chinese flight delay now up to 21 minutes

Nasa said the agreement’s details were discussed during Nasa administrator Charles Bolden’s visit in August, when he met with the CAE and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

“China is expected to see a substantial increase in air travel in the near future,” Bolden said.

“Our ability to work closely together will help to improve predictability of ground delays so air carriers can better plan departures to increase efficiencies. That will have a positive impact on US carriers operating in China and the global aviation community.”

In July, the official news agency Xinhua said China plans to invest as much as 50 billion yuan (HK$58 billion) to develop its air traffic management system.