A combination of military drills and bad weather in eastern China left thousands of passengers headed for Shanghai and nearby cities stranded at Hong Kong International Airport for more than 12 hours. At least 13 flights scheduled for Shanghai Pudong International Airport from 10.55am were still grounded at the airport by 9pm. Passengers with Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Juneyao Airlines, and Spring Airlines were affected. No flights departed for Shanghai Pudong International Airport from Hong Kong after 10am because of a combination of air traffic restrictions over eastern China caused by a military drill in the morning and rainy weather in the afternoon, according to airport ground staff. Zhang Jun, a Dragonair passenger who was having his 50th birthday, was one of many passengers who had been waiting since 4pm. “My biggest birthday wish is to leave now,” he said, standing next to the airline’s counter as it was besieged by angry passengers. Many of us have not slept for nearly 24 hours. They kept lying to us by giving us new times and keeping us waiting here... Zhang said he is a frequent traveller to Shanghai but has never seen delays of this kind. “I have lots of experience with delays on the mainland caused by air traffic control. What I cannot accept is being given new departure times every two hours. If there is no departure time, tell us there is no time.” A Cathay manager at the scene denied the departure times were arbitrarily set but said they were based on possible departure slots from Shanghai air traffic control. Passengers in transit who had come from long-haul flights from New York, New Delhi and Singapore complained Cathay Pacific and Dragonair had kept them awake too long without offering any place to rest, nor any food or drink while waiting, endangering their health. They were unsatisfied with the airlines’ explanation of the situation and demanded compensation. “We are a group of 19 seniors. Many of us have not slept for nearly 24 hours. Now it’s 10pm, we do not want to leave anymore and just want to be put in a hotel and rest. They kept lying to us by giving us new times and keeping us waiting here,” said Ren Hongxing, a 70-year old man from Shanghai who was returning from a Malaysia-Singapore tour via Hong Kong. Passengers on his flight had boarded and waited for four hours on the aircraft before being offloaded. A delay certificate issued by Dragonair said the flight - originally scheduled for 1pm - was delayed because of “adverse weather” and “air traffic flow control”. Dragonair ground staff said “Shanghai has given us no time. We do not know if and when a flight could take off.” Air traffic controls over eastern China last summer caused delays of up to 15 hours at the Hong Kong international airport. Cathay cancelled CX5808/KA808, a Shanghai Pudong bound flight originally scheduled for 4:55pm, at around 10pm. By 11pm, passengers on the 10:55am CX 5804/KA804 flight had boarded the plane but still did not take off. Hundreds of passengers from three other Shanghai-bound flights were still waiting near midnight in the hope of getting a chance to depart. As of 9am Wednesday morning, all flights had been rescheduled and many were still waiting to depart.