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China mulls compensation for flight delays: report


16:35, July 16, 2013

BEIJING, July 16 (Xinhua) -- China's civil aviation authority is considering a standardized national compensation scheme for delayed flights in an effort to appease passengers grumbling at the country's poor flight punctuality, according to a Chinese media report.

Related: Facing flight delays, stewardesses pray to 'punctuality gods'

The plan, likely to follow the European Union model that bases compensation on the length of the delay in hours, is expected to reduce mass claim disputes in cases of flight delays, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Monday, citing an anonymous insider.

Under the country's current guideline for flight delay compensation, each airline is allowed to set its own compensation standards, often fueling the discontent of delayed passengers.

China has repeatedly vowed to improve service in the civil aviation industry as flight delays have grown rampant in recent years.

Data published by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in May showed that more than 500,000 flights were delayed across the country in 2012, the worst record in the past five years.

A survey by airport information site FlightStats also showed Beijing Capital International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport came at the bottom of 35 airports across the world in June in terms of punctuality.

CAAC head Li Jiaxiang said at a work conference in early July that punitive measures will be carried out in the second half this year for airlines with poor punctuality records.

Airlines with the lowest punctuality rates may receive warnings, while routes on which service quality has triggered mass disputes over delays may get canceled, according to the CAAC.

Besides a unified compensation standard and harsher punishment, other problems, including limited civil airspace and tight scheduling by airlines to save costs, also need to be addressed, analysts said.

Last April, Chinese passengers angered by flight delays rushed onto the airport tarmac on two occasions, causing no casualties but severely disrupting normal airport operations.

Since January 2013, reported brawls between delayed passengers and airport staff in airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Kunming also renewed public concern over how delay cases should be handled.

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