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March 28, 2013

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Fewer delays likely on flights to Beijing as routes modified

FLIGHTS between Shanghai and Beijing are expected to have fewer delays as China's civil aviation authority makes more airspace available by opening a new route for aircraft flying over northeast China.

Airspace capacity between Shanghai and Beijing will grow by 30 percent as all aircraft flying between Europe and Japan or South Korea begin using the new route as of 11pm on Saturday, said Wang Liya, director of the Air Traffic Management Bureau of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

"Currently, flights between Europe and Japan fly across the Beijing-Shanghai route, jamming the busiest route in China and causing flight delays," Wang said.

The new route also shortens the distance to and from Japan and South Korea for international carriers by eight minutes on a single trip, he added.

The route between Beijing and Shanghai has had long takeoff intervals of 30 minutes since it was opened in 2007.

The punctuality rate is about 80 percent on ordinary days, but a range of delays occurs in bad weather or when air traffic is restricted.

The bureau adjusted takeoff and landing routes for Beijing-Shanghai flights at the Capital International Airport in Beijing late in 2012 to keep a safe level of separation between inbound and outbound aircraft.

"The administration will focus on improving the operation of the Beijing-Shanghai route through 2015," Wang said.

The bureau will install high-precision navigation equipment on passenger aircraft between the two cities to improve the on-time rate, he added.

The Beijing-Shanghai route is the most profitable domestic route. Its annual profit can reach 900 million yuan for a single carrier, Xinhua news agency said. The route is operated mainly by Air China and China Eastern, China Southern and Hainan airlines. Spring Airlines joined in 2011, becoming its first budget carrier.


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