Airlines in China are more punctual than those in the United States, but passenger anger at delays, lack of timely information and the arrogance of the carriers is increasing. According to figures from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, 22.6 per cent of last year's 673,921 flights did not leave on time, compared to 27.4 per cent of flights in the US, the Beijing Morning News reported yesterday. The rate in the first half of this year on the mainland was about 20 per cent. The main reasons for delays were poor weather, adjustments by carriers and air-traffic controllers, aircraft faults, disorganised passengers, interruption of communications, illegal flying by advertising balloons, roaming doves and smoke caused by the burning of cornstalks. Ning Wanglu, secretary-general of the China Consumers Association, said many passengers complained about the lack of quick and detailed information about delays and the availability of free meals. They were given no apology nor explanation about refunds or compensation. A China Academy of Social Sciences legal specialist, Liu Junhai, said airlines still suffered from the monopoly mentality, were ignorant of the law and had little sense of social morality. Passengers are increasingly asserting their rights by refusing to board the planes after a delay.