Expect Less Compensation for Flight Delays in 2017

By Bridget O'Donnell, July 25, 2016

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Flight delays and air rage are all too common in China, but transportation authorities are hoping new airline regulations scheduled to go into effect next year will alleviate the problem.

The Chinese Ministry of Transport's new regulations require airlines to pay for passengers' accommodation and meals if a delay is caused by the company. But if the delay is due to reasons outside of the airline's control — weather, emergencies, security incidents — the company is only responsible for arranging accommodation for travelers and is not required to cover the expenses. (We wonder what that means for flights delayed because of unruly passengers who refuse to get off their phone, ignore the seatbelt sign, start fires onboard or accidentally activate the emergency slide).

READ MORE: Can China Tackle Its Terrible Flight Delays?

But while weather and technical problems are a common cause for flight delays around the world, many of China's late departures can be blamed on politics. With the military controlling 70-80 percent of China's airspace, the country's notorious flight delays are often already beyond the control of airlines.

Flight delay in China

Expect Less Compensation for Flight Delays in 2017

The new rules also state that airlines are required to disembark passengers if the flight is delayed for more than three hours. They also stipulate that airlines are required to notify passengers no later than 30 minutes after a delay has been confirmed and that they must inform all passengers of their delay service policies. Hopefully that will lead to less incidents of riots at airports and passengers escaping down to the taxiway.

Airline Delays in China

Chinese airlines and airports experience more delays than anywhere else in the world. According to data from the US-based monitoring firm FlightStats, only 65 percent of mainland flights left on time in 2014. And according to data from last year, 14 airports in Greater China ranked in the bottom 20 for being the "least punctual," with just 41 percent of flights leaving on time at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, 52 percent at Shanghai Pudong, 59 percent at Hong Kong International and 64 percent and Beijing Capital International.

This isn't the first time authorities have tried to clamp down on delays either — last year the Civil Aviation Administration announced that it would begin punishing airports and airlines. The regulations saw heavy penalties imposed on Shenzhen's Bao'an Airport, which was not granted any new flights, routes or charters in 2015. The airport has seen its fair share of messy passenger riots.

The new airline regulations will go into effect January 1, 2017.

[Images via CNN 1/2, ZDNet]

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