China's airports losing battle with delays
Disruptions now affect four out of 10 flights in China as punctuality deteriorates sharply, new research shows.
Since June 2017, China's on-time performance -- the ratio of flights that leave the gate less than 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time -- has fallen below 60%. The sheer number of delays is not the only reason fed-up flyers are increasingly switching to the country's well-developed high-speed rail network. In August, the average delay was longer than at any time in the past four years.
Travelers must now endure disruptions lasting more than an hour and a half, nearly a third longer than the average in 2015.
There is also evidence that, since China's economy took off, air travel demand has outstripped supply. The number of civil airports has been slow to increase, though some facilities have expanded. In 2016, the Civil Aviation Administration of China counted 216 airports nationwide, up from 139 in 2000. Meanwhile, the number of passengers has soared 526% this millennium.
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