Don’t fly Chinese

Were you frustrated by airline delays or airport inefficiency this summer? I know I was. But any problems surely pale in comparison to those facing the Chinese flier, if this report by Time magazine is anything to go by. The stats speak for themselves:

According to data provider FlightStats, all of the  world’s 10 worst airlines for timekeeping in June were Chinese. FlightStats also  notes that China’s airports — also operated by the state and bereft  of customer-friendly facilities like decent restaurants or shopping — are  prime offenders for tardiness. A paltry 18% of flights from Beijing’s Capital  International Airport took off on time this June — the worst record of any major  airport anywhere in the world. And Beijing is far from China’s only  laggard. No. 2 on the FlightStats’ global offenders list? Shanghai.

The reasons for this woeful state of affairs apparently include military dominance of airspace (restricting the freedom of passenger planes), the inertia of a small number of government-owned dinosaur airlines (three firms alone account for 80 per cent of the market), and overly-stringent air traffic control restrictions. But passengers are fighting back – impressive in this most restrictive of regimes – and in July an entire planeload of frustrated travellers simply refused to disembark upon landing because of being delayed for so long.

The chance of positive change currently seems to be slim, however: according to Chinese media reports, airports are attempting to avoid angering travellers by… simply not announcing delays at all.

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