China / Society

New rule may allow passengers to get off delayed airplane

( Updated: 2016-07-15 14:10

If a plane has to wait in the apron for three hours or more after its scheduled departure time, airline companies should arrange for passengers to get off without violating aviation safety and security rules, according to a new rule.

The Ministry of Transport said the new ruling will take effect on Jan. 1 and has yet to be finalized.

It previously released a draft of the new rule for public feedback, which required airline companies to publicize and strictly implement compensation plans for flight delays.

Besides, companies were told to make and publicize contingency plans for planes awaiting takeoff for hours, including providing information to passengers, food supply and conditions for passengers to get off.

Full coordination with airport management, customs, exit and entry inspection and security departments on contingency plans was also required.

In cases of delay or cancelation of flights caused by weather, emergency events, air traffic control, security checks, passengers and other factors that are not attributable to airline companies, airline companies should assist passengers in boarding and accommodation matters while passengers should pay the costs.

But airline companies should provide accommodation services to passengers if flights are to be delayed or canceled at a stopover, no matter what the cause.

While the plane is waiting to depart, the airline company should inform passengers of the latest flight information every 30 minutes, including the cause for the delay and its estimated length, as well as ensure normal use of washrooms and offer necessary medical services. If the plane has to wait for two or more hours, the airline company should provide passengers with drinking water and food.

Zhang Qihuai, a civil aviation expert, said a unified national standard for compensating passengers for flight delays or cancelations should be made to ensure passenger rights, the paper reported.

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