Report shows Chinese airports suffer from poor OTP

29 Apr 2016 by Clement Huang

China is home to some of the worst performing airports when it comes to punctuality, according to a 2015 report by FlightStats.

The airport statistic website analysed the on-time performance (OTP) of some 188 airports around the world, and concluded that 14 of the bottom 20 were located in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan.

The Chinese airport with the worst punctuality record was Hangzhou Xiaoshan, which had an OTP rating of 41 per cent (the only airport with a lower percentage was Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport).

Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport didn’t fare much better, with only 52 per cent of on-time departures, while Beijing Capital International Airport achieved a 64 per cent OTP.

Perhaps most surprising was the inclusion of Hong Kong International Airport on the list, which only managed to achieve an OTP of 59 per cent last year. Latest tracking figures for the month of March 2016 have also yielded poor results for the airport, with only 69 per cent of on-time departures – below that of Beijing (76 per cent) and far behind regional rival Singapore (86 per cent). The main reason is Hong Kong’s close proximity to the mainland, which has impacted the SAR’s OTP.

The problem for China is that more than 70 per cent of its airspace is controlled by the military, leaving commercial airlines with relatively narrow corridors in which to operate flights. 

Periodic military drills have also reduced airport efficiency. In particular, the summer of 2014 saw 12 airports, including both Shanghai Pudong and Shanghai Hongqiao, reduce air traffic by 25 per cent for a three-week period.    

However, with air travel on the rise, the Chinese government is looking to open up more space in their skies. this becomes even more necessary as authorities improve the infrastructure of existing airports in order to accommodate more flight arrivals and departures.

“China is developing very, very quickly, far faster than any other country around the world has ever developed that capability,” said Steven Brown, COO of the National Business Aviation Association, in an interview with the BBC.

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Clement Huang

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