Beijing Airport: We are not so bad

Updated: 2008-01-23 20:19

Beijing Capital International Airport has hit back at criticism from a business website that it was one of the worst in the world.

Dong Zhiyi, general manager of the Beijing Capital International Airport, said on Wednesday that official statistics showed that 86.28 percent of the flights taking off there were on schedule, refuting claims from that it was the second worst airport in the world.

"At Beijing Capital International Airport, which is expanding in preparation for the summer Olympics later this year, just 33 percent of its flights took off on time in 2007, putting it just behind Brasilia on our list of worst departures," said the article on the US website on January 14.

Dong said the airport did not deserve its poor ranking, adding that from June to August last year, when Beijing saw frequent thunderstorms, 84.88 percent of the flights arrived and left as scheduled, 9.56 percent higher than the previous year.

Dong said if bad weather occurred around the Beijing Olympics in August, the airport was fully prepared to take emergency measures and coordinate the airport and airlines to ease flight delay pressures.

Sources with China's General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) North China Air Traffic Management Bureau said that it tightly controlled the total number of flights daily and the hourly number of flights at peak times. It also conducted a flight survey every 10 days.

A special working group was established by the CAAC last year to reduce delays at the country's busiest airport and try to tackle the problems causing delays. The proportion of delays caused by the airport was 0.31 percent of the total last year.

Earlier this month, the CAAC just announced at a national civil aviation conference that it would take eight measures to reduce flight delays and improve the airline services this year, including:

-- A two-year block on the expansion or establishment of branches of airlines reported for poor services after delays or overbooking, or luggage losses.

-- The cancellation of services that rank among the bottom 20 on the punctuality lists at Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou or other Olympic-related city airports, and those that have a punctuality rate below 50 percent.

-- The monitoring of services that airlines provide during the Olympics period to be taken into consideration in distributing slots in 2008 and 2009.

From the beginning of last year to early December, Beijing Capital, the only international airport for China's capital, handled 50 million passengers, putting it among the world's 10 busiest airports.

"With the new No. 3 terminal building to be completed in February 2008, three terminals and three runways will be in operation at the same time, expanding the airport's capacity to 82 million passengers annually and 1,700 flights per day," said Dong.

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