China's aviation authorities on Monday promised to make greater efforts
during this summer's thunderstorm season to ease air travel delays -- which have
in the past led to violent confrontation at airports.
China's main air traffic control centre has installed new equipment that will
be able to alert the main airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou up to 48
hours in advance of storms, to help airlines better prepare, the civil aviation
administration said on its Web site (www.caac.gov.cn).
The authorities also said they would improve coordination with the military,
which controls almost all of China's airways, to open temporary routes around
storms and "reduce the effect on regular flight operations".
Chinese airports regularly shut down during rain storms, delaying flights for
hours and stranding thousands of passengers.
Airports have now taken to putting up posters and showing short movies
explaining why weather can delay flights and asking that people not attack
ground staff or try to storm grounded aircraft, as has happened in the past.
But passengers say Chinese airlines and airports only add to the confusion by
keeping them in the dark about delays and refusing to provide information about
Air travel has boomed along with the economy, but service standards and
infrastructure have struggled to keep up.