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On-time flights still a priority

Luo Wangshu
Updated: Mar 5,2017 8:36 AM     China Daily

Feng Zhenglin, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, tells reporters in Beijing on March 3 that “there is still space to improve” the rate of commercial flight punctuality.[Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

The nation will continue to improve the punctuality of commercial flights, China’s top civil aviation official said on March 3.

“I was not happy with the punctuality rate of scheduled flights before, nor am I happy with it now. But we are working to improve it,” said Feng Zhenglin, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. He made the remarks ahead of the opening ceremony of the annual meeting of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top advisory body.

The punctuality rate of scheduled flights was 76.4 percent last year, a rise of 8.4 percentage points from 2015.

The punctuality of commercial flights can be affected by such factors as weather, military activity, airport and airline management, and air traffic control, he said.

The administration took many steps to improve the situation last year, including strictly carrying out the evaluation of airlines’ punctuality and reducing delays caused by controllable factors, such as air traffic control, Feng said. Some factors that cause delays are not controllable, such as weather and military activities, he added.

Last year, about 56 percent of delays were caused by weather conditions, compared with 29.5 percent the previous year, he said. Meanwhile, flight delays caused by airlines’ poor management and air traffic control have been reduced to less than 10 percent each.

“Although weather has been the major reason for flight delays, there is still space to improve,” he said.

In January, a national regulation took effect that requires domestic airlines to disclose policies about delays and cancellations.

Forty-two domestic airlines have announced policies for compensating passengers in the event of flight cancellations or delays. Eight offer no reimbursement to customers under any circumstances.

According to the regulation, when a delay or cancellation is the result of weather or air traffic control, rather than the fault of airlines, the companies should help arrange accommodations for passengers, although the cost is to be covered by the passengers.

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