Postcard from... Beijing


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The Independent Online


China’s airports often feel like the worst in the world when it comes to delays and cancellations, but new data from industry research group FlightStats shows the facts bear out the grim impression.

Beijing’s main airport had the lowest ranking for on-time departures last month with less than one in five flights leaving on schedule as military controls of airspace and an expanding fleet add to congestion.

And the country’s financial capital Shanghai had the second-worst among the 35 busiest international airports in June, according to the FlightStats rankings.

Just 18 per cent of 22,019 flights departing from Beijing Capital International Airport were on time, while Shanghai Pudong International airport had a rate of about 29 per cent, FlightStats said.

A delay is marked if an aircraft fails to take off within 15 minutes of the scheduled gate time. However, more than 42 per cent of flights at Beijing airports experienced excessive delays, which means flights that arrive or depart at the gate 45 minutes or more after the scheduled time, the report said.

Flag carrier Air China came in sixth from the bottom of the rankings, with just 54.58 per cent of its flights arriving on schedule.

Air China, China Eastern and other airlines have seen their fleets expand massively as rising incomes translate into more people flying, and China’s commercial aircraft fleet is projected to double in the next seven years.