[BEIJING] China plans to open 10 new air corridors to help ease chronic air traffic congestion and address the problem of frequent flight delays, the official China Daily said on Wednesday, citing a senior aviation official.
"Over the past 10 years, the number of flights using China's airspace has been increasing 10 per cent year-on-year, but our airspace that can be used by civilian airlines is only one-third of that in the United States,", Chen Jinjun, director of the air traffic management division of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), was quoted as saying.
The new routes will allow aircraft to travel to and return from a destination along two separate lanes, Chen said. On exsting routes they take the same lane at different altitudes.
Chen did not provide a timetable for the initiative or the location of the new routes. Mr Chen and CAAC's air traffic control officials were not immediately available for comment.
Last week, the CAAC opened the Guangzhou-Lanzhou air corridor, which can handle more than 400 flights every day and covers 32 airports in six provinces.
China has been scrambling to build airports across the country to keep pace with its fast-growing civil aviation market, but its military-controlled airspace has made flight delays the norm.
Military drills can also be a big headache. In July 2014, drills led to a near shutdown of 20 airports in eastern China, with air traffic capacity falling by as much as three-quarters at Shanghai's two main airports.