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April 7, 2011

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City's air traffic congestion likely to decrease

SHANGHAI'S congested air traffic is expected to ease as more planes will be allowed in the sky from today when more air lanes will be created, according to the regional air traffic authority.

The East China Air Traffic Management Bureau said yesterday it would lower the minimum flight altitude to 7,800 meters, down from 8,400 meters, starting from today around east China, including Shanghai.

However, industry experts remained cautious that this would reduce flight delays.

Since air routes are divided by altitude, dropping the minimum altitude allows more aircraft to be in the sky at the same time, officials said.

The minimum altitude between two planes is set at 300 meters, so 600 meters adds two more "air lanes," the authority said, adding this will help reduce flight delays.

Passenger complaints have mounted about flight delays and carriers, in turn, have blamed them on strict air controls.

However, industry insiders said the "new method in reducing delays still needs to be proven in the long run."


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