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Fewer flight delays for Spring Festival rush

FEWER flight delays are expected during the Spring Festival rush this year with better weather condition and new policies from authorities, officials said today.

Weather forecasters at the city’s Pudong and Hongqiao international airports have said they expect less snow and freezing weather during the 40-day rush between today and February 24, said Dai Weidong, assistant general manager of the operation and control center with China Eastern Airlines.

Temperatures are expected to be higher during the festival this year than last year, Dai told Shanghai Daily.

"Only one or two cases of snow or freezing weather are expected to hit the city's two airports, when pilots may not be able to take off, causing some delays," he added.

The airlines will inform passengers using short text messages when there are delays of over an hour or other changes, Dai said today.

"Passengers are being told to leave their mobile phone numbers when they book flight tickets so that the carrier can send short messages to inform them of any delays," said Wang Daming, IT solutions manager with the airline. He said 90 percent of the airline's passengers are able to receive the messages.

The messages will also tell each passenger what to do when flight delays or changes happen, Wang added.

When large numbers of passengers are stranded at other airports, the carrier will arrange for standby wide-body aircraft to pick them up from neighboring cities, Wang said.

Furthermore, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has opened a platform to airlines and airports in east China where airlines easily can learn how long air traffic control issues will last — information that was confidential previously.

"The platform, called CDM, can help cut passengers' waiting times in the cabin, because the airlines can let them wait in the airport terminal if air traffic control measures will take a long time," Dai said.

Meanwhile, Pudong airport opened the city's first automatic ticket machines for luggage check-in yesterday.

Passengers can check their own luggage with the first batch of four machines to reduce waits. More such machines will be installed at the city's airports by mid-year, the airport authority said.

Shanghai’s two airports are expected to handle 9.3 million passenger trips during the Spring Festival rush this year, up 7.3 percent on 2013, the airport authorities said yesterday.

A total of 70,000 flights are set to depart from and arrive at the city’s two airports during the 40-day rush.


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