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Beijing storm leaves passengers stranded

By Yang Jian  (Shanghai Daily)

07:59, July 09, 2013

Some 60 flights between Shanghai and Beijing were canceled and numerous others delayed as heavy thunderstorms affected life in the nation's capital yesterday.

With storms showing no signs of easing anytime soon, the flight delays are expected to last until Thursday.

Some 32 outbound flights from Shanghai and 36 incoming flights from Beijing were canceled at the city's two airports - Hongqiao and Pudong. Nearly all the departures and arrivals between the two cities were delayed, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.

"Apart from the thunder and heavy rainfall in Beijing, there were also air traffic restrictions in place on the route," an official with the China Eastern Airlines said yesterday.

Many local passengers flying to Beijing were told to seek refunds or change their tickets for later flights.

"I could not print my boarding card on the machine at the Hongqiao airport and a China Eastern staffer told me to change the flight," said a passenger, surnamed Zhou, who was scheduled to fly to Beijing at 1:30pm and was told the flight was delayed by over five hours.

Zhou said she was told only one flight took off from Hongqiao to Beijing at 7am. All the following flights were either delayed or canceled.

China Eastern issued a statement around noon yesterday saying all flights in east China region to Beijing were severely impacted.

"Some flights were delayed by four or five hours while others were canceled," the Shanghai-based airlines said.

China Southern issued a yellow alert for flights delays to Beijing around noon. It expect flights to be affected for at least three more days.

Passengers are advised to check with their airlines about their flight status before going to airport, China Eastern said.

The thunderstorm started about10pm on Sunday in Beijing and the deluge impacted all the incoming flights to the capital.

Flights from Chengdu in southwest China and Guangzhou and Xiamen in south China were also affected.

It was the second massive delay on the Shanghai-Beijing route, one of the busiest domestic routes in the country.

On Friday, thousands of passengers were stranded at Shanghai's two airports after more than 100 flights were canceled and numerous others delayed because of thunderstorms in east China. Shanghai is expected to see frequent flight delays between July and September, officials have warned.

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