Saturday, August 3, 2013

 

Chinese airplanes taking off without landing times

Chronic flight delays in China have led to new rules requiring planes to take off as soon as passengers are aboard. Landing is another story.


China planes new rules: An Air China plane over Beijing Capital International Airport
Chinese airplanes now must take off as soon as passengers are aboard.
To combat China's notorious flight delays, the country's eight busiest airports have been given a new edict by the Civil Aviation Administration of China – get going as soon as passengers are on board, even if there's no place to land.

The new policy, labeled "unrestricted take off," gets planes in the air on time, but arriving is another story. Quartz.com, in this report, detailed that planes are circling destinations for hours waiting for runway slots to become available. The initial flight delays are caused by a variety of factors, including overcrowded airspace and air traffic controller woes.



Quartz cited Yang Xinsheng, dean of the College of Air Traffic Management at the Civil Aviation University, who said, "Waiting on the ground is always safer than waiting in the air."

There are costs and hazards in keeping planes circling over major urban destinations, from burning expensive fuel to creating carbon emissions over already polluted areas.

The measures are in part due to the fact that China's booming population makes them the second-largest domestic airline market behind the United States. However, more than three-quarters of the nation's airspace is controlled by the military, putting a crunch on everyday passengers and leading to the temporary solution of hurry up and wait.



In the United States, Alaska Airlines is testing a satellite system at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that could prevent circling above airports, since it would eliminate the delay caused by use of radar. With satellites, planes can fly much closer together since air traffic controllers would have accurate portrayals of their locations at all times.

"This makes much better use of the airspace," Alaska Captain Mike Adams told the New York Times last year. "It improves efficiency and reduces congestion. That's the holy grail we're all aiming for."

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