Regarding yesterday’s afternoon siesta taken by Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, one informed reader offered the following scenario:
The Pudong Airport thing is the long running battle between PLA Air
Force and airport authority about payments from airport to air force — they’ve now stepped up the squeeze.
We remembered reading something about this before, so we did a search of our Gmail archive and found the September 28 weekly update from the fine folks at Access Asia. Here’s the pertinent part:
Why is My Flight Delayed?
We get asked this question rather a lot by people arriving and departing from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport these days. So, here’s a collective answer. Problems of course remain with the airport’s design – all that shimmering architecture and not quite enough jet ways. There’s also the problem of local airlines not wanting to pay for jet ways, hence the buses to and from the planes that slow things down.
However, the other reason so many flights are delayed is an ongoing turf war between the airport authorities (and the CAAC regulator) and the Chinese air force. Round 1 in this turf war was a while ago, and led to delays on Shanghai-Beijing flights – basically the air force thinks it should get some money from CAAC, and until it does, claims precedence of airspace and flies jets around disrupting everything. A deal was apparently reached. Now the air force is going for the Shanghai-Hong Kong route and a deal has yet been reached. Of course, the Top Guns could fly around to their hearts content in Xinjiang, but there’s no money in that.
So was this Round 2 or Round 3?
Photo by TommyOshima.