Flight delays will be reduced and the shortage of unrestricted air space eased under a combination of measures planned by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, officials said.
One-way air passages soon will be opened on three busy routes－Beijing and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Kunming, and Shanghai and Lanzhou, according to Feng Zhenglin, director of the CAAC. Feng spoke at a work meeting over the weekend.
A one-way passage allows commercial aircraft to travel to and from a destination in two separate air lanes, instead of the two-way routes in which pilots have to adjust their altitude to ensure that aircraft in all directions can fly safely.
The one-way passages, now in use for flights between Beijing and Kunming as well as between Guangzhou and Lanzhou, have proved to be useful in boosting the efficient use of airspace and in reducing congestion in the air, CAAC officials said.
Officials also will try out several other procedures on crowded routes such as those linking Beijing, Shanghai and other populous cities on the mainland to make the best use of airspace and reduce delays, they said.
Nearly one-third of Chinese flights were late in 2015, and air traffic control measures were the biggest drag on flights, accounting for 30.7 percent of air delays last year, administration reports showed.
“We will work with the air force to run a trial in central and southern regions to explore ways to reform airspace management mechanisms,” Feng said.
China’s airspace is tightly controlled by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
Che Jinjun, director of the CAAC’s Air Traffic Management Bureau, said: “Currently, the shortage of airspace available for civil aviation has been substantially hindering the industry’s development.”
His bureau is making suggestions to the government on the optimization of airspace management, he said.
The bureau also will establish a regional Asian meteorological center for aviation, a flight information center, and national centers for flight schedule management and coordination of airports to boost the air traffic management, Che said.
In the first half of this year, passengers made 230 million trips on Chinese airlines, a 10.8 percent increase compared with the same period last year.
A total of 151 new scheduled flights were opened in the first six months by 24 Chinese and foreign carriers, with most of the new links connecting cities in central and western regions, the CAAC said.