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New airspace routes opened to ease punctuality woes

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)

09:03, December 16, 2011

BEIJING - Airspace authorities opened new flight paths over North China on Thursday as officials look to reduce delays at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Seven fixed flight paths have been cleared for use, while another 13 temporary channels have been created or adjusted.

According to simulations run by the North China Air Traffic Management Bureau, if the number of flights remains the same, the new routes could help punctuality rise at Beijing Capital International Airport from the current 73 percent to 85 percent.

"With new roads in the sky, planes can enter and leave the airport using different paths," said Yan Xiaodong, the bureau's chief engineer. "In the past, planes flying between two cities used the same path, head on, which slowed down traffic flow."

Seventy-four million people passed through the airport's doors in 2010, a figure that is expected to exceed 80 million this year, making the airport the busiest in China and the second busiest in the world in terms of passenger volume.

Last year, the airport handled an average of 1,416 flights each day, up from 611 in 2000.

Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said earlier that the airport is so busy it is very difficult to find slots for new flights.

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