Saturday, 21 March 2015

China has World's Worst Delays

Shanghai's Pudong Airport one of the world's worst in terms of delays
After my trip to Xiamen that resulted in delays going there and back, I'm not surprised to find China's airports and airlines were the worst in the world for being on time last year, according to FlightStats.

The US-based data provider on air travel found of the world's 61 largest airports, the seven worst performers for on-time departures were all mainland airports, with Hangzhou's Xiaoshan, Shanghai's Hongqiao and Pudong facilities taking the bottom three spots. Only 37.74 percent of flights left on time from Xiaoshan, 37.17 percent from Hongqiao, and 37.26 percent from Pudong.

These three airports were followed by Shenzhen Baoan, Guangzhou Baiyun, Chongqing Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport.

Japan's Haneda Airport had the best on-time rate of 89.76 percent of the largest airports in the world, while Itami airport was the best performing of 374 world airports of all sizes with an on-time percentage of 94.56.

Zou Jianjun of the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China said management of China's facilities had not kept up with demand and the network was concentrated in a few areas.

"Flight lines are too centralized in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and it's a big challenge for their managers," he said. "Even if a small mistake happens at any of these major airports, it's quite possible that flights in other cities will be affected."

How about the fact that China's military controls the country's air space and only allows a fraction of it for commercial air travel? And with the boom in air travel, there are bound to be frictions between commercial and military interests, and the government has not resolved the situation.

This has resulted in not air rage, but ground rage, where passengers vent their frustration of delays on ground crew staff, and in a few instances things have gotten violent. Last February, a near riot broke out after more than 2,000 passengers were left stranded at Xinzheng International Airport at Zhengzhou, Henan province.

Is this how the Central government would like to see the commercial aviation industry develop? Some 390 million people traveled by airplanes last year, which is double the 2009 figure. Something's gotta give.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong International Airport dropped in the rankings too, down from 22nd spot to 80th last year.

No mainland or Hong Kong airlines made the top 10 list of having on-time arrivals last year. KLM took top spot at 88.66 percent.

Another crazy statistic from FlightStats is that if all the extra time passengers and crew spent waiting on the tarmac for flights to take off in the mainland in 2014 were added together, the total would amount to about 232 years. Even notified flight delays would add up to about 183 years.

That's a lot of wasted time! Imagine that lost productivity could have boosted China's GDP even more...

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