Rule aims to cut down on flight delays

The latest amendment to Shanghai’s air traffic control rules aims to see that more passengers experience fewer delays when departing from the city, local aviation officials said Thursday.

The East China Regional Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China released a new rule last week, allowing airlines at city airports to register for takeoff with air traffic control authorities up to 15 minutes ahead of boarding passengers instead of waiting until everyone has gotten on the plane.

So long as all flight preparations have been completed, including the refueling of the aircraft, airlines can register early, a practice that is expected to better coordinate air traffic and result in fewer flight delays, according to Zhang Zichuan, spokesman of the body’s regional administration.

“We are aware that delays cause inconvenience to travelers,” he told the Global Times Thursday. “This should help air traffic flow more smoothly.”

The new rule follows other efforts made to rectify the situation at city airports – constant delays that frustrate air travelers on a daily basis – one of which gives takeoff priority to airplanes stuck waiting on the tarmac for at least two hours after boarding passengers.

“We’ve also set up a new command center to coordinate delayed flights,” said Zhang. “It will collect the information of delayed flights and work out the best alternative options.

“But due to various factors, some beyond our control, there are delays that will inevitably be longer than others, and that is the reality of the situation,” he added.

But Shanghai-based Spring Airlines spokesman Zhang Lei Thursday questioned how effective the new rule would be.

“Early takeoff registrations may complicate the situation by creating more work for air traffic controllers, and the end result may not wind up much different from the current situation,” he told the Global Times Thursday.

Global Times

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