News

Mainland China flight delays reaching serious levels

14 Sep 2010

Flight delays in and out of Mainland China to Hongkong have lately been on the rise, incurring passengers’ wrath at having to be kept on the tarmac for long periods of time.

The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department attributed the cause to “flow control” problems, reported the South China Morning Post. According to the agency’s records, delays between April and June were higher than the corresponding period last year. These were the result of increased air traffic, poor weather conditions, VIP slot allocations and air restrictions due to military flights.

Hongkong pilots added that delays were also due to priority given to mainland carriers, thus aggravating the situation.

Cathay Pacific subsidiary Dragonair, which mounts several flights a day to the Mainland, has been the most affected. About four out of every 10 Dragonair flights have been late in taking off, and the average delay has increased to 48 minutes. “It has really gotten worse,” James Tong, Dragonair CEO, told Business Traveller.

Routes between Hongkong and Beijing or Shanghai are most prone to delays, which have a knock-on effect for flights serving Ningbo, Nanjing and Hangzhou.

David Kerr, president of the Hong Kong Pilots Association, said: “It is an issue we are concerned about and we hope that some urgent action can be taken to improve the situation, for the good of both passengers and the airline.”

Dragonair’s Tong said the matter had been brought to the attention of the Chinese aviation authorities through the International Air Transport Association.

Alisha Haridasani

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