Chinese travellers are spending more time at airports and on aircraft as flight delays worsen. The average delay for flights in 2015 was 21 minutes – two minutes longer than in 2014, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in a report on its website, dated May 30. Air traffic control issues were the biggest reason for the delays, followed by bad weather, the CAAC said. Air China, China Eastern Airline and other carriers are expanding their fleets and budget carriers have emerged as economic growth spurs travel demand in China, where the military dominates the country’s air space. Traffic congestion is set to worsen as the nation’s commercial aircraft fleet is projected to double in the next 20 years and become the world’s biggest travel market. About 436.2 million people travelled by air last year – 11.3 per cent more than a year earlier, according to the report. Chinese airports fare poorly in timely airport departures, according to April data on the website of Flightstats. Of the 49 airports it tracked, Shenzhen was ranked bottom, Guangzhou second-to-bottom, Shanghai’s two airports 45th and 46th, and Beijing 40th. Hong Kong was placed 43. Istanbul, in Turkey, was ranked the best, according to the website. The world’s second-biggest economy plans to allocate about 77 billion yuan (US$12 billion) for investment in civil aviation this year, starting with 11 key projects as it looks to improve infrastructure to cope with the surging travel demand. China is planning to build 66 new civil airports during its next five-year plan, which will take the national total to 272 by 2020. Beijing, Chengdu, Qingdao, Xiamen and Dalian are among major Chinese cities that have started building new airports, while work began in December on two new passenger terminals at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.