Thinking of flying home for the Chinese New Year? Maybe on Hainan Airlines? Or how about Air China? Well, you might to want to reconsider your options.
The US-based aviation monitoring company FlightStats has shared its year-end data with Bloomberg, allowing the media outlet to compile a list of which airlines had the best records of being on time in 2016 — and which ones had the worst. While no Chinese airline made it on the top 10 list this year, four of them are present on the bottom 10.
The worst Chinese offender is China Eastern Airlines where you have a 35.8% chance of experiencing a flight delay. Next comes Hong Kong Airlines (33.42%), Air China (32.73%) and Hainan Airlines (30.3%).
Of course, if you’ve ever actually flown with a Chinese airline, this will hardly come as a surprise. A report last year found that a whopping one-third of Chinese flights are delayed, blaming that fact on a variety of issues, but particularly the PLA’s tight control of the country’s airspace.
Another FlightStats report from 2015 named Chinese airlines and airports as the world’s worst for punctuality. Among the 61 largest airports in the world, the seven worst performers for on-time departures were all mainland Chinese airports that year with the Shanghai Hongqiao and Pudong airports taking the two bottom spots.
“Flight lines are too centralized in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and it’s a big challenge for their managers,” a Civil Aviation Management Institute worker told SCMP at the time. “Even if a small mistake happens at any of these major airports, it’s quite possible that flights in other cities will be affected.”
Hellish delays at airports around China have led to numerous nasty conflicts between impatient passengers and airline staff. Last April, angry passengers at an airport in Changsha were filmed slapping and throwing food at an airline employee due to their frustrations over a flight delay. Later in the year, an enraged flight captain urged his passengers to protest a flight delay by getting out of the plane and playing shuttlecock on the apron.
But, thankfully, planes aren’t the only means of moving around the country. China also has the world’s largest high-speed rail network, though with the annual chunyun travel rush starting up, we wouldn’t exactly recommend taking a train either. Last year, 100,000 travelers were left stranded outside of the Guangzhou Railway Station when severe weather caused delays.
How about just staying home instead?
By Matt Bonini
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